‘Folly Gras’ weekend in Charleston, a winter respite

Published 9:47 am Friday, February 15, 2013

“Loud are the thunder drums in the tents of the mountains.

Oh, long, long

Have we eaten chia seeds

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and dried deer’s flesh of the summer killing.

We are tired of our huts

and the smoky smell of our clothing. 

We are sick with the desire for the sun

And the grass on the mountain.”

~  Paiute Late Winter Song 


On a chilly rain-soaked day last week, I left Saluda for a winter respite at Folly Beach near Charleston. All the way, rain pattered the windshield non-stop, the landscape of mountains rolling down to misty flat lands of central South Carolina, long stretches of stark winter woods  standing sentinel along the road. Luckily, sunshine peeked out the next morning: white sand, seagulls and endless ocean were still there. Warm sun kissing my face, I thought how much I’d hungered to feel that delicious feeling on my face and feel spring in my soul.

On the island, it was “Folly Gras” weekend; folks from far and wide wore Mardi Gras beads and feathers, as did many dogs that came wearing beads and costumes for the occasion. While getting coffee early, I heard a woman telling the barista that the woman’s birthday was the next day, and she’d decided to stay at the beach longer and celebrate. It was her big day and she was “going to enjoy every damn moment of it,” she declared loudly. Surreptitiously looking around at her, I noticed she was in my age range — I was tempted to walk up and congratulate her on this decision. Instead, I took my notebook and coffee off to watch the sea and birds, smiling to myself about living life right here and now, as if it’s your birthday every day. Why not!