Ebb Tide

sc.jpgBy the time I finally got outside and dragged the canoe from the garage to the edge of the marsh, the tide was already receding. The edge of the shore was all honeycombed-mud and half-cracked shells.

There would be no boating this morning.

I traced the edge of the shore instead, sliding ankle-deep into the mud, puzzling over every detail. Pencil-thin rivulets flowed into one another, growing steadily deeper and wider. A pod of minnows darted through the muddy pool. Fiddler crabs scurried for cover.

The air was alive with sound: the the his of water through cordgrass, the whir of breeze through palms, the buzz of insects, and various songs of Southern birds. A turkey vulture circled in the vast, pristine blue overhead.

Squinting through the trees, it wasn’t difficult to imagine this little patch of mud a few clicks northeast of the Pocataligo River three hundred or even three thousand years ago. Peering int the explosion of green before me, imagined a time before time, before television or telescopes, iPhones or alphabets.

Story goes, The Kellers spent years wandering these highways before driving through the white gates of Bray’s Island. Just a few hundred feet on the tree-lined lane here, they knew they’d found the spot. Five years later, as Abbi and I paced the great, green lawn behind the Inn, we knew we found ours. The huge, live oak there along the river is strewn with Spanish moss. Early Carolinians used the massive trunks for sailing masts, and the moss for furniture. Seemed a fortuitous combination of attributes: strength for long travel and comfort. And so we were married there just eighteen months ago.

It’s quiet here. My ears ring. My pulse slows. And, though I log onto my email account from time to time, I find it difficult to believe that any of the other stuff really matters: the blips and beeps, web pages and WAP sites. It’s really about the turning tide: in and out, in and out, in and out. It is it’s own rhythm, its own pace, attendant on no one and dependent on nothing except the moon herself.

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