Ornamental Bliss

In Southeastern North Carolina, the Azalea bloom, its flora, color and symbolism, is anxiously awaited. It signifies the start of spring and festival for most Southerners, as the azalea is native to this region’s heritage and cultural traditions.

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Lori Harris Photography

There have been a variety of azaleas planted and nurtured, especially at the Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden – Home of the World’s Largest Rotary Wheel in Greenfield Lake Park, Wilmington, NC. There are currently 264 plants: 134 Autumn Rouge and Autumn Royalty. In and around Wilmington and Greenfield Lake Park, you will find thousands of plants showcasing the many varieties of azaleas, exploding with vibrant colors such as: red, white, corals, pinks, purples and bi-colors.

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Lori Harris Photography

As the city comes alive with color and blooms, most often in late March and April, with ongoing blooms throughout the season, people begin to get outdoors to enjoy the warm spring days and park and private gardens. The symbolism of an azalea is that off “home” or “city.” In my interpretation would be that of community and purpose. Wilmington has been blessed with being named an Azalea City, and has held a major festival each April, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, to celebrate its beauty and symbolism. (Ncazaleafestival.org) in Mobile, Alabama the Azalea Trail Run is held each March. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azalea_Trail_Run)

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Lori Harris Photgraphy

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Lori Harris Photography

Up close, the Azalea is rich in pollen for the bees and wasps that drink its nectar, and are velvet to touch. They are a stunning burst of color and create a sense of peace, serenity and purity.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Mermaid Money On the Ground

How often do you walk along the beach, head tilted down, minding your own, searching and wondering – Will I find THE shell? In my adventures on the shorelines of North Carolina, or any beach for that matter, I am always and forever in search for that perfect shell.

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Lori Harris Photography

Depending on the tides, weather and time of year, similar to plants, you will find varieties of shells, as well as various volumes of shells, along the water in North Carolina. One of my favorite blogs that categorize and list these varieties is: http://north-carolina-sea-shells.blogspot.com/.

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Lori Harris Photography

There are days where the sand will showcase thousands and days where you may get lucky and find one or two to add to “the collection.” No matter, each and everyone becomes a treasure.

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Lori Harris Photography

I believe shells offer insight into life. They are known for such symbolisms as: life, rebirth, regeneration, love, marriage; and for some religions it is a representation of an awakening from ignorance, prosperity, or infinity because of the spiral shape in most shells.

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Lori Harris Photography

My favorite is “Mermaid Money” or better known as a Sand Dollar.

Lion’s Tooth

The dandelion, or “Lion’s Tooth,” a weed, not only is fully edible, but offers strength and agility in its words of symbolism: perseverance, rebirth, vigorous, productive, beneficial and a companion to name a few. In North America, however, this weed is truly considered to be a visual nuisance and obnoxious in the landscape of nature. Horticulturist utilize the dandelion’s ability to pull nutrients to the surface with shallow rooting plants. Thus, making it a companion to its space and environment.

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Other names for which it is known are: blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown and puffball; faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine’s snout, white endive, and wild endive. Irregardless of the name, it remains, this plant survives some of the toughest conditions, and yet gifts its gentle strength to humans who pick the floral or pick the seed bud to blow it into the wind.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

For me, the memories in laying in the cool summer grass, plucking the floral and the seed, playing and dreaming of enchanting things, are what a dandelion symbolizes.

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Lori Harris Photography

Here’s to making wishes with the seeds of a “Lion’s Tooth.”

National Seashore Coast Guard House

Whitewashed exterior, conch shells nestled on the gate, life as it was now is just a memory. The Coast Guard house is located on the Core Banks in North Carolina.

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Lori Harris Photography

To get to the old Coast Guard house, be prepared for a ferry or boat trip and a hike. The afternoons journey will take you back in time. Walking through “The Village” at the Cape that leads to the Coast Guard house, reminds me of a set on the backlots of Universal. Most of the few homes that splatter the landscape along the shore, are tattered, mysterious, empty but full of energy. Beware of the Mosquitos, as they appear in full force in the warmer months and will definitely leave there marks!

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Lori Harris Photography

The house dates back to 1915, according to the Friends of Cape Fear National Seashore. (http://www.friendsofcapelookout.com/coastguardstation1915.php) Bone remnants of a whale lie in the front yard, inside the gate, at the house. Along with the shells and the hot afternoon sun, the experience gives way to a realization of the hidden resources of our nation and its purpose in protecting our nation’s security and freedoms.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

The Saltier the Better

According to science, the culture conditions and genetics are what determine the level of saltiness of an oyster (Crassosstrea Virginica). There are many who are repulsed by the appearance, texture and taste of of an oyster. However, there are those of us who savor the beauty of its unique shell, toothy and slimy texture, and the salty bliss and burst of flavor.

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Lori Harris Photography

Oyster clusters thrive in shallow waters in and about the shorelines, inlets and marshes of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Their place in nature serves to preserve and cleanse the waters where they grow.

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Lori Harris Photography

Those of us who are attracted to this cuisine often create traditions surrounding the gathering of friends and family or people at festivals with the sole purpose to celebrate the oyster. The cleaning and preparations are a full days effort resulting in steaming or cooking, shucking, garnering, and eating the delectable gems of nature.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

There are many foods that nature gifts to us, but the oyster is SOUL food at its best!

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Lori Harris Photography

Kasserian Ingera?

“Kasserian ingera, my friends…

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Lori Harris Photography

“Among the tribes of Africa, few have warriors traditionally more fearsome or more cunning than the Masai of Kenya. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting among Masai warriors. One warrior would always say to another, “Kasserian Ingera,” which, in Swahili, means, “Are the children well?”

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Lori Harris Photography

It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging the high value of the Masai for the well-being of children. Even modern Masai with no children of their own always give the traditional answer, “Sapati Ingera” or “All the children are well,” meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail – that the priorities of protecting the young and powerless are in place, that Masai society has not forgotten its reason for being and its responsibilities.

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Lori Harris Photography

Imagine a community that places the well being of its children first and in the forefront of every idea, innovation, policy, strategy and implementation of economic development! Imagine the difference in the levels of societal ills, and everyday approaches to our jobs and life!

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Lori Harris Photography

“All the children are well” means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles of existence do not preclude proper care for the young. It means dignity for all!

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Photo by Kenna Rock

Birds of Wood

Blue ribbon winner for composition.
“Birds of Wood”

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Lori Harris Photography

Time and nature takes it toll on objects that root themselves along the shorelines. By chance to happen upon a piece of driftwood that showcases various species of birds that live in the region. The Sea Gull and Pelican both extend their profiles from the trunk of this cypress that once stood on the shoreline. Overtime she deteriorated and gave way to the forces of nature.

To have captured this moment, never to be copied, never to be seen in this composition again. She is mine, and I share her beauty with you.

Enjoy, embrace and allow.

Carolina Carnie

Electrifying, eccentricities, entertainment, flare, and fun – all things Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park. Britt’s Donut Shop, Frank’s Pizza, the sweet shops, shaved ice, bicycles, bars, rides, and fun! It all begins each May and runs through September each year.

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Lori Harris Photography

Local retail thrives on this tourist season. Local residence have a love/hate relationship with the summer season and the wave of tourists who come and go during this time.

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Lori Harris Photography

In spite of the rush of the season, the carnival holds a special place in the central business district of Carolina Beach. Families flock as the carnies build the excitement and open for business.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

Many Mouths Hunter

Walking on a warm summer day – the sand in your toes, the warmth of the Atlantic waves and the squawk of the seagulls, on the North End of Carolina Beach – you seem dreamy and one with the ocean. Kids are playing, teenagers are sunbathing, and adults are often shore fishing. The waves push treasures of shells and offerings of nature up on the shore.

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Lori Harris Photography

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Lori Harris Photography

One of nature’s sacrifices are the “Many Mouths Hunter (Stomolophus meleagris),” Cabbagehead or Cannonball jellyfish. They feed on zooplankton, and are food for the endangered Leatherback Turtles that inhabit the Southern Atlantic waters. The are strong swimmers. (http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/Cannonballjellyfish.pdf)

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Lori Harris Photography

Along the North End local beach goers will “play” with the jellies by poking, picking them up and tossing them back into the waves. They ooze a goo secretion of sorts, however, the Cannonball will not harm or sting humans. Tourist will wonder with curiosity and caution. June and July are months that guarantee these shoreline findings.

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Lori Harris Photography

Carolina Flare

Big Rock is a popular offshore fishing spot. It’s name embodies significance. One of the largest Gulf stream fishing tournament brands the name and is listed as one of the top President’s Fishing Tournaments in the United States. (http://www.thebigrock.com/)

Locals from Morehead City, Beaufort, Harkers Island and other Outer Bank towns and cities, know this place as their hometown fishing hole. A day of fishing on the Gulf Stream could prove worthy of a marlin, tuna or other seasonal fish who navigate these waters.

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Photo by Lori Harris Photography

Running the boat is performed by seasoned captains who know these waters better then they know their children’s names. Running these waters, especially in the early morning or dusk at sunset, is spectacular! The sun in all its grace and glory illuminates the earth and sky with vibrant pinks, blues and hazes of purples. Somewhat dreamy and surreal, you sit back and breathe the freshest air and embrace the peace and power of the ocean that only Big Rock can give, and that she does.