Sunday, August 7, 2011


The day after school got out in June, we packed the children into the car and headed to Nana and Poppy's house in Charleston, South Carolina for my husband's family reunion. 
My husband is one of seven children. Add in spouses and eighteen grandchildren and the numbers add up fast. That doesn't include the various aunts, uncles, and cousins who join us every year. Luckily, my in-laws live on Wray's Landing--five acres along the Bohicket Creek on a sea island south of the city.

Besides playing with their many, many cousins, my children love Wray's Landing

 because it's one of the few places where they have complete freedom. 

They can swim in the creek, 

run out the long dock to find the boats or any stray cousins,

throw the shrimp net, 

swing beneath one of the many oak trees. 

or catch crabs.

And if that doesn't work, we can head over to Wando Shrimp and buy dinner right off the trawler.

For me, there's Nana's garden. As a master gardener and an official Charleston Gardens Tour Guide, my mother-in-law has one of the loveliest gardens in the Low Country.

But the most beautiful plants in Nana's garden aren't just her flowers. 
Since her house sits on the original site of "Cottage Plantation", an indigo and rice plantation dating to the eighteenth century, the property boasts magnificent Live Oaks,

a few almost a thousand years old. 

These storm-scarred trees have bowed low before hurricanes, 

and funerals.
Except, while centuries of laughter and tears whistle through their branches, the children show no respect. The trees are climbed, 

swung on, 

forced to endure games of hide-and-seek and flashlight tag,

then enlisted as bunkers for spontaneous Nerf battles. 

But maybe that's as it should be, for the old to patiently guide the young. 

Because one day when these children face adult-sized storms of their own, they'll look back,

remember their childhood reunions in the arms of their family, safe beneath the canopy of trees,
and know that they are loved.

A special thanks to my niece Katie for sending me some of her photos of Wray's Landing.

What is a "Study in . . ."? 
A visual record defined by a single element, such as color, texture, or type. Previous journal entries for Study in Summer include Hide and SeekSudley Manor, and Red, White, and Blue.

May all your journeys this summer bring you safely back home.


  1. I am so in love with those trees!! Wow what a wonderful place to grow up.

  2. THese are so gorgeous and the blog is very poetic. Thank you for a sweet taste of S. Charleston.

  3. You make me want to get on a plane and wake up in the low country. These pictures are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing them!

  4. Gorgeous, Sharon! What a neat place for the family to share.

  5. Just had to laugh because I didn't read the other comments until I posted mine. "Gorgeous" seems to be the theme. ;-)

  6. Sharon, this photo essay is going to be a beloved treasure of the Wray family! Thank you so much for gifting us with it.

    Big hugs from Kieran :>)

  7. Sharon, Your "Study in Summer" is beautiful. The words, photos and emotions add up, quite simply, to a masterpiece! I feel now, more than ever, the need to visit Wrays Landing. Since I do not want to deviate from the "theme" I must reiterate: GORGEOUS! Love,Suzy xo