~Kiawah~

Recently, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to receive an amazing invitation to Kiawah Island, South Carolina with some wonderful women for a few days.    It’s good to travel to nice places, but it’s more important to travel with good people.  This unexpected trip was both, and so much more.

This post is all about capturing the small moments, those “bookend” times of the day when one can carve out a few moments of solitude to simply be, and simply be aware of where we are and grateful for our time here.

Allow me to share a few of the beautiful sights and moments experienced within these 13 or so square miles along the edge of the Atlantic.  First up:  Arrival!

Welcome to Kiawah Island
That feeling when you know you’re close to somewhere special is even more exciting when greeted by such a beautiful sign.

This beautiful place has miles and miles and miles of trails.  Level, well-marked, well maintained trails.  Where the trails end, there are more miles of well packed sand at the edge of the Atlantic, just perfect for strolling or cruising.  Walking and bicycling were the preferred means of transportation throughout much of the stay on Kiawah.

With bags stowed in the condo and sunset approaching, one of the first activities was to find a spot for the best show in the area!   A little side note here:  Early in the drive, our theme song became Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran.  Looking at this photo now, watching the pelicans fly over the nearby Sanctuary Hotel that could easily be mistaken for a castle in the sunset that first evening, that song fits so well.

Brilliant Sunset over The Sanctuary Resort ~ Kiawah Island, SC
..a lone gull, a flock of pelicans, and an amazing mid-week sunset..

Mornings are a favorite time for me, especially at the beach, any beach, but I had no idea the beauty and majesty awaiting me on my first morning walk at Kiawah.  I happened upon a couple of bucks looking for breakfast!

Buck Surveying the dunes
..caught sight of a buck surveying the dunes on my morning walk…

He must have heard me behind him and turned around.  For just a few seconds he walked towards me on the boardwalk.  I backed up accordingly to give him his space.

Beautiful buck on the boardwalk
..Let me just slip off to the side to get out of his way…

After a couple of minutes, the buck turned around and joined a friend for breakfast in the dunes.   A lovely cardinal flew into the frame just as I snapped the picture.

Morning Company
This is how I spent my first morning on Kiawah, in the company of beautiful creatures at the edge of the vast ocean.   No other humans to be seen.  #GodSightings!

The condo where we stayed had a wonderful kitchen with ample beautiful and comfortable spaces to enjoy meals and conversation.  But one night we ventured out to a restaurant at Bohicket Marina. Oh.My.Goodness!  Yes, the food was delicious, yes the company was delightful, yes the conversation included A LOT of laughter; but upon exiting the building we were greeted by the twilight sky settling in for the night over the boats.

Boats at Bohicket
Last rays of sunlight fading ahead of gathering clouds. ‘Tis good the boats are in the harbor this night.

Heavy clouds gathered throughout the night.  Summertime thunderstorms are a reality here, but the boats seem determined to shine with their reflections despite the imposing darkness.

Marina at night ~ The stuff of dreams!
….calm waters below, troubled skies above….

The next morning the clouds seemed to want to linger a little longer and enjoy the sunrise as well.  Who could blame them?  Later this beach will be filled with people enjoying the sunshine and surf, but for now it’s nearly deserted.

Morning sunrise through clouds at Kiaway
The sun seems to be blanketed by the clouds, rising from them as if slowly waking to the new day itself.

I love those glowing moments, when even the air seems saturated between the actual light and the reflection from the water.

More morning scenes from Kiawah ~ lone shrimp boat heading out to sea.

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More morning scenes from Kiawah ~ Sunrise reflections from the pond.  There’s a sign warning of alligators, but they stayed out of sight on this trip.

Sunrise reflection on one of the greens
Morning sunrise and clouds at one of the greens on the golf course.

As much as I adore the pictures of and on the beach, this picture is one of my favorites from this trip.  This is the walkway to the beach following an overnight rainstorm.  Fallen leaves, blown by the wind and rain, lay undisturbed as I approached on my morning walk.  Perhaps in this picture there’s a hint of how spectacular autumn will be along this trail.

Walkway to the beach ~ Kiawah
Storm soaked boardwalk and fallen leaves ~ Beautiful Sights at Kiawah

What you don’t see in these pictures are the in-between moments.  Images of conversations over coffee, morning chats, laughter over wine, bonding between a mother and her recent high school graduate daughter, friendships growing, rest and renewal.

What I hope you see are images of a beautiful place where these and more wonderful things happened, all  because one person chose to extend an amazing invitation.

While leaving, I stopped for one more sign.  The Sanctuary Resort sign adorned with Old Glory in preparation for the Independence Day festivities.

Departure Sign:  Sanctuary
Sanctuary – So much more than a resort hotel.

Our sign upon arrival simply stated where we were, our sign on departure simply stated what we had experienced ~ Sanctuary.

Peace.

 

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

  1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Monday Moon

The moon won’t be full for a couple of days yet, but looking up earlier tonight I couldn’t help but smile.  So, I put my coffee down long enough to pick up my camera and take a stroll outside.

It really is beautiful, and it’s lighting up the entire landscape like it doesn’t even care that it isn’t full yet.

Perhaps there’s a lesson for me from this not quite full moon.  Perhaps the subtle changes, along the way to any given goal, are moments to be observed and illuminated. Perhaps it’s a reminder to be bright at any stage of the journey.  Perhaps, too, it’s a wonderful reminder on this Monday night to keep looking up.

Peace to you all.

 

January Moon

Look up.   It is in the darkness of night that the moon and stars become brilliant.  The soft blues and stunning oranges and reds of sunrise and sunsets often make us stop in our tracks, take slower breaths, and marvel at the glory and beauty above us.   But what about the darkness?  Ah ~ that beautiful darkness far away from streetlights and cities where the moon beams bathe the earth in the softest glow.

Tonight a few wispy clouds lingered close to the rising moon, a brief embrace of sorts  before floating away on the breeze.  Westward, stars are more visible – even Mars and Neptune are keeping watch over all that moves tonight – but my focus remains in the eastern sky as the moon slowly makes it’s way higher.

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First Full Moon of 2017

Perhaps in summer there would be owls chatting or whippoorwills calling through trees, but on this night the winds carry a chorus of yips and high barks from coyotes in the surrounding woods.  Somehow that seems appropriate as we welcome once again this “Wolf Moon” of January.            ~ Peace ~

“And at the eventide, again may we give thanks unto Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord”   (Gelasian Sacramentary A.D. 494)

 

~Monday’s prayer, and the November Supermoon~

‘Tis a lovely evening following a dreary day here in this corner of the globe.  The moon, this super moon as it’s called,  has risen.   Clouds have dispersed and the unmistakable scent of a wood fire is drifting on the cold November night breeze.   Coyotes are calling from the woods to the north, joining the frogs and crickets in the music of the night, perhaps competing with the area doggies to see who can bark or yip or howl the longest.

It is not a still night, it is not a silent night,

but it is a beautiful night.

Monday is softly slipping away, but before it passes completely, I pick up my grandfather’s old prayer book and read for tonight:

 “….Grant that in us, short-lived, vexed with cares, hungry, thirsty, dying, the Spirit of God may so come and so dwell, that the beauty of the Lord may be upon us…..”

And looking up ~ I do believe it is.

Goodnight, Sleep Well & Sweet Dreams.

~Peace~

(Prayer Information:  Tileston, Mary Wilder. Prayers Ancient and Modern. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1928)

Above the waves ~

My life has a soundtrack, and the baseline is the crashing of Atlantic waves keeping time with my own heartbeat.  Now, I don’t live at the beach….yet….but there’s something deep inside me that needs time at the water’s edge.  More than a recharge, the ocean is where I go to actually re-set.  In light of the recent storms, I’d like to share some photos of calmer times along the coastline; a reminder, perhaps, of the beauty that returns to the ocean once the storms have passed.

Every sunrise is beautiful in its own right, an awakening of possibilities of a new day; but a sunrise over the ocean is a masterpiece of light shattering the darkness.  My favorite beaches are south-facing, which means the sun rises and sets over the water.  Spectacular views all day long.

IMG_8634 This sunrise was from a few weeks back as I stepped out alone onto the sand at Topsail Island, NC.  Aside from a few sandpipers, pelicans and gulls, I had the whole strand to myself for at least half an hour.  The night sky gave way to the most brilliant gold, red and orange hues as the sun slowly rose above the horizon.   Waves rolled in and crashed upon the cold morning sand as if waving good morning to anyone who ventured nearby.

This past weekend, Labor Day Weekend, found me at the edge of the ocean once again.  Tropical Storm Hermine made her presence known along the eastern seaboard, certainly, but did not linger at Oak Island, NC.

Another south-facing beach in this great state, morning walks with coffee along the shoreline offers glimpses of tranquility and peace.

Mid-day draws the crowds and has different rhythm of conversation and laughter atop the ocean music; but the transitional time of morning and evening provide just the right light to silhouette nearly everything against the crashing waves.

You know, I’ve seen the sunset in the Florida Keys and it is a spectacular sight no doubt.  But even more spectacular, I think, are the sunsets right here in North Carolina as the golden sun drops into the Atlantic, setting the sky aglow, lighting the way for the night to take the stage.

And long after sunset, the rhythm of the waves keeps steady time here on earth, with an unbreakable relationship with the heavens.  I find the stars seem to shine brighter and clearer at waters edge, away from the light pollution of the towns and cities.  Perhaps even the waves themselves, in some forgotten language, whisper “Look Up” .

But some nights, some nights the moon shows up in its full brilliance and light shining over the landscape, unseen by those who sleep deep and early.  I believe everyone should experience the beauty of the full moon over the ocean at least once in their lives – preferably several times.

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Calm before the storm ~ Full moon over the Atlantic ~ August 2016  N. Topsail Island, NC

These are the nights when the waves truly get to not only sing into the darkness with their rolling music, but to shine brightly under the spotlight of a moon always in tune with the rhythm of the waves.    Goodnight Atlantic.  I miss you already.

 

 

 

The “Not Quite Full” Moon

 

Technically, the August full moon won’t appear in these parts for another couple of days on the 18th.  That’s ok, weather permitting I’ll be back outside admiring the night sky then as well.   Tonight, the not quite full moon played peek-a-boo for the longest time until finally clearing the southeastern tree line.

A few wispy clouds drifted by for a quick moon-dance, bathing themselves in the glow before drifting away on the night breeze.   Sentry Oaks and Pines stood silhouetted against the deepest indigo, keeping watch  as the moon beams stretched through branches heavy laden with late summer leaves, blanketing the landscape in deep night-light and shadow patterns.  Even if one is alone when gazing upon the moon, one can be assured somewhere, someone else has eyes turned upwards to seek the beauty and peace in the night sky; and somehow I find comfort knowing others are looking up as well.

Peaceful journeys through the night, my friends.

Sleep Well & Sweet Dreams.