Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Lily's Last Stand?

Landsford Canal State Park is one of South Carolina's secret destinations this time of year. A 20 minute drive from Rock Hill, the park is home to a huge stand of "Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies." These interesting plants live in the middle of the Catawba river and thrive in the shallow, running waters at the site of a early 19th century canal project. May is the season for these flowers to bloom and I am reminded of part of today's lectionary reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-15,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

There was an time for canal building in America. That time has past, and as the writer of Ecclesiastes might say, "All was vanity." The canal itself no longer exists, but the stone ruins of its guard locks can be viewed just a short walk from the park entrance.

Taking the nature trail for another half mile would lead to a lookout area to view the spider lilies,

but the canal trail looked quiet and inviting.

Maybe next time. This was May 29th and the lilies were in bloom. I am afraid that my pictures don't do the vista justice.

Lilies have been associated with funerals which I suppose is because they symbolize the purity and innocence of the redeemed Christian soul.

These lilies, constantly bathed by the flowing waters of the Catawba seem especially appropriate symbols of our eternal life and the means of our redemption.

Another way to see the lilies is by canoe or kayak. Just put in at the park picnic area, float downstream, and take out at the lower parking area. Because the waters are shallow and rocky, (hence the need for the canal) it is best to use an older vessel for your voyage. Next year I am going to bring the kayak I bought at a city auction a few years back, the one with "Rock Hill Rocks" printed on the side and plenty of dings in its bottom.

The spider lilies also can be found in Columbia,

but the "wow" factor at Landsford Canal State Park is worth the trip. See you next May!

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them).


  1. Excellent photos. This looks like a place where I need to take my family.

  2. I must get to South Carolina one of these days. It remains the only state south of the Mason-Dixon Line I've not visited.


  3. Ya'll are welcome anytime. Let me know if you need a kayak or two!

  4. Thanks for this demonstration of gratitude and awe in the presence of God's work!