Welcome! You have just stepped into the marsh community of Wards Creek and beyond. My husband Tom, our dog Mullet and I live here along with the marsh grass, the marsh mud, a creek that flows in two directions, coyotes, marsh rabbits, and river otters, Great Blue Herons, Red-winged Black Birds, and White Egrets, marsh pinks, morning glories, loblolly and longleaf pines, tree frogs and lizards, mosquitoes, dragonflies, and butterflies. We all call the marsh home which is located on the east coast of North Carolina near the town of Beaufort. Some of the images you see come from areas beyond the marsh surrounding our home.
Twenty-one years of listening to community members in the marsh has opened my heart to the Earth parables coming through these plants or animals, the sun and moon. I call these stories, Earth parables because they always contain a lesson for me and for all humans. When time is taken to visit a flower or watch the lizards in my pathway, openings are created for stories and insights to come or for a moment of beauty to appear that asks to become a painting. This can happen as I am walking the land, canoeing the creek, hanging out on the dock, walking the forest trail on the edge of the marsh, or going for a swamp stomp. These stories, insights and images grow and ripen within me until they are ready to be put on paper in the form of watercolor paintings or photographs. In time they become a greeting card, with a teaching story written on the back for all to read.
The pictures and stories are woven parts of my life that are now being shared with you. Each of the images you find here is a portal or opening into myself representing encounters with members of my community, including trees, flowers, animals, the land and our fellow humans. While it isn’t always necessary to know my neighbor’s name to appreciate their gifts, learning the name of a tree, bird, flower or person can help me to connect on deeper levels.
The process of connecting to the rest of the natural community around me can then be applied anywhere I happen to be. You too can be open to a story coming through a tree you are leaning against as you enjoy the shade, from a beetle walking over your bare toes, or there might be a lesson to be learned from watching the people walking the sandy beach as you relax by the ocean. These images here serve as an invitation to you to engage in the world around you wherever you are. I hope you enjoy them.
If you are curious about the name of my studio, Spartina, here is the story. Spartina is a vibrant green grass that grows in the low country of our community, at the bends in the creeks. It adjusts to being flooded by salt water at high tide by releasing salt it doesn’t need. Special glands in leaves pick out the salt, releasing it through the tiny holes that lead to the outside of a leaf. After the water evaporates on the leaf surface, the tiny salt crystals can be seen as they sparkle in the sunlight until being flooded by the next high tide.(1)
As the Spartina grass is able to release unnecessary salt, can I release unnecessary thoughts and behaviors I no longer need?
1. Life and Death of the Salt Marsh by John and Mildred Teal. ©1969 p.93