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