Monday, December 12, 2011

December Lagniappe

From last December ...

Now that winter has finally made an appearance here in Mississippi, the cold temperatures have taken a toll on the landscape, replacing the glorious fall foliage of a few weeks ago with bare limbs and the muted colors of winter. But Nature has a way of compensating for the bleakness — in the form of vines with bright red berries growing wild in the woods and on fence rows along our roadsides. In the spring and summer, some of those vines were probably covered in a profusion of wildflowers, but now their colorful fruit is all that remains.

That reminds me of these lines from one of my favorite poems, William Wordsworth's Ode: Intimations of Immortality, which were recited by Natalie Wood in one of my all-time favorite movies, Splendour in the Grass ...

What though the radiance which was once so bright,
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be ...

Isn't that a beautiful way to describe the passage of the Seasons!

Last week, I noticed a tree in some woods not too far from our house that was almost completely covered with tangled vines and bright red berries — and I knew there were pictures there just waiting to be taken.

And sure enough, a couple of days later, under a brilliant blue sky for background, I went back and captured those pictures.

If you are a regular visitor to Southern Lagniappe, you know that if I'm not familiar with a flower or plant I photograph, I try to learn a little about it. I have seen vines like these, but never this close, and, after diligently browsing through several Google images and web sites featuring "wild vines with red berries," I discovered that they are Carolina Moonseed (Cocculus carolinus). They get their name from their seeds, which resemble a crescent moon.

Of course, I had to find out if my berries had "moonseeds," and upon dissecting one of the berries, I was delighted to see the little crescent shape in the center of the seed.

Isn't that awesome lagniappe!

I love the graceful way the tendrils curl and twine around the vines ...

And the berries! — so plump and ripe, and almost translucent!

I encourage you to take time to notice the December lagniappe where you live ... it's there — all you have to do is slow down a little and look for it.


Dorothy said...

Beautiful berries!!! There are some vines with red berries growing in the edge of our lot. I wonder if it's the same thing. I need to check that out. I enjoyed this post!

racheld said...

Bright and beautiful, as always are your translations of what's to see and admire and be in awe of.

I love having the RED to look at today---it's a bright sunny day, and we're going out and about, but Sweetpea came in at 7:30, headed for her big chair, and promptly went back to sleep (must be that rousing late night she had, going to the movie with Chris and coming back to delve into all the cookies and candy we ladies were sharing out at our Cookie Swap).

And everything seems to be in shades of burgundy here, so I love the bright of yours.

Hope all your Lovies are doing well today---and you, too, of Course!


LindaG said...

Great photos. I will have to compare them to some I took on our retirement property to see if they might be similar.

And now I know what to look for the next time I see them.

Found your post while doing a search to try and identify my own berry that I know nothing of.

Hope you don't mind if I follow along. You take amazing, gorgeous photos!