To understand "why," it is best to first understand what "pluff" (also spelled "plough") mud is. This Carolina Lowcountry term represents a Lowcountry entity -- the slippery, shiny brown-gray, sucky mud, with a distinctive smell like none other, of the tidal flats and spartina grass salt marshes. Unpredictable in its sucking power, when you step in it, you could sink up to your ankles, or up to your knees, or even to your hips. And if you sink up to your knees, you can pull yourself out, but do not plan on retrieving necessarily your shoes unless they are tightly laced.
I have read some unfortunate (read “inaccurate”) descriptions of the aroma of pluff mud, written by people who came from somewhere else, who compared the smell to that of sulfur or rotten eggs. Perhaps they were outside when the wind was blowing from the direction of
, the waste disposal plant, or from the direction of the paper mill, or when a storm was brewing. Now those first two are indeed, putrid stenches -- but they are not pluff mud! As a native of the Carolina Lowcountry, a Plum Island girl who grew up on the marshes of Schooner Creek, I can say that it is a sweet, pungent, distinctive odor that emanates and combines with the damp, salt air. Others may not think of it as "sweet" but it is to those of us who are the "binyas;"* indeed it is the smell of the marsh that welcomes you back when you have been away, this aroma -- a comforting symbol of home. James Island
So I chose "pluff mud" to use in my title as a symbol of moi, an appreciative SC Lowcountry native with pluff mud between her toes and the aroma in her nose : - ). My goal is to offer my impressions and photographic perspectives of the fabulous natural world surrounding us – locally and from off. Welcome to my blog!
Other accurate descriptions of pluff mud may be found in these links:
*binya – a Gullah term for a native of the Lowcountry – a deformation of “been here” as opposed to a “comya” – the opposite in Gullah for someone who has “come here” from somewhere else.