Cool winds off the ocean keep my goose down vest zipped tight as I struggle to put my orange Volunteer safety vest over it. With my pink suede work gloves, shears and lopper I head over to a mess of brambles, sun-dried golden rod, ragweed and gnarled vines spilling over into the parking lot.
My volunteer work here at Edisto consists of cutting back the overgrowth in the parking lots, the car parks.
I am greeted by:
An hour passes. Then two. I am making progress. Neat piles of trimmed branches, old vines, dead wood lined the edge of the parking area. My greatest surprise is soon to come.
Tackling the dead brush is slow and tedious. Intertwined are ropes of thorny vines. Each time I have to use my shears to clip them off at ground level. Coming up on hour 4, I’m tired now and want to stop. I spot something green under the brambles. My passing thought is that it’s a clump of pampas grass.
It turns out to be a baby rendition of the state tree: a Palmetto. It takes a half hour just to get most of the twisted sisters off the little tree. Most of its little palm fronds are bent from their long confinement underneath the brambles.
As the breeze picks up, I am filled with joy to see the little wobbly palm waving around. As much as to say Look at me! I’m free!
Somehow, my tiredness doesn’t seem to matter anymore.