Let Us Go, Let Us Go, Let Us Run Away to Edisto.





Today I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was on Edisto. 

At low tide. In the early morning summer sun. 

I walk down the back steps of the beach house. Each step is sandier than the last. At the bottom of the stairs haphazardly hangs the outdoor shower spigot to wash off the sand of beach goers past. On the ground below the spigot is a rainbow of dry, cemented sand particles and tiny bits of broken shells. 

I  take a wide step out onto the the first stepping stone. I am careful to not let my feet fall into the sand surrounding the small stone octagon. Sand burrs are hard to spot in the sand but there is no mistaking the needle sensation in the soles of your feet. Carefully I step from stone to stone. My pace quickens. Even in this early sun the pavers are already heating up. In an hour or two, my feet will have to be wet to cross them without burning. 

The stepping stones end at the crest of the dune. The dune doesn't gently slope down to the beach. Rather it abruptly cuts off. High tide has eaten away at  this side. I hop down to the beach and run to meet the ocean.  

We greet each other affectionately. It has been too long. The ocean plays at my feet . Rubs against my ankles. Like the rare affectionate cat, winding in and out between my feet and purring before it quietly slinks back away from the shore.  I stand for a moment and let my feet sink into the soft, wet sand before I rush after the water. Let's Play. 

At first I am running and then I am swimming. I swim until I can just barely reach the bottom. I bob in the water, grinning from ear to ear. Oh! What was that? Something brushed against my foot! A shark? A jellyfish!? Just seaweed. And judging by the porpoises jumping by some yards away, I am safe from the sharks for now. The jellyfish…… I must hope for the best. 

The tide must be rising. The waves are getting bigger, stronger. With each swell I propel my body upward just before the peak reaches me so that I bob easily over each wave.

The waves are starting to break just where I am. This is my favorite part. The reason my love affair with the ocean began. I let myself bounce over the next few waves. I am waiting for a big one. And there. Just a few yards out. I see it coming towards me. I turn so my body is no longer parallel to the beach, instead I face towards it. 

I feel the wave come up behind me and as it starts to lift me up I kick my legs out from under me and lie on top of the swell. The wave is now carrying me with impressive speed towards the beach. A few seconds of elation. Of power. Of lightness. Of perfection. And now as I am pushed onto the shore by the breaking wave,  my whole body is now being rubbed raw by the sandy beach. The sand and shells are being clawed back into the ocean by the undertow.


Again?
Again!
Again!
Again!


Now I am ready for a rest. I  sit just close enough to the ocean that the soft sand will mold a seat for me when I sit down. I watch the tide carve tiny canyons and channels around me. Listen to the waves. Watch the sand wash away. Grab shells from the foamy whitewater bits of wave still left on the shore. Rake my hands through the wet sand. Wash them off with the next wave. Reach behind me and dig into the now hot dry sand and watch it slip through my fingers. I do this for hours. All the while looking for charming little shells and cool little black shark teeth that I may keep as mementos. 


The waves have exhausted me. The sun has tranquilized me. It is time for an afternoon nap. Back to the beach house. Make use of the old rickety shower. Leave a trail of wet sandy foot prints up the steps and through the house. In bed I can still feel the motion of the waves coursing through me. I fall asleep as if adrift on the open sea.


I awake across the country in the dry Sonoran desert.