A Beach Morning

I awake this morning to a cloudless sky and twin suns: one above and one reflected in the mirror of the ocean. Pelicans are already on the wing, gliding mere inches above gentle swells being pulled towards land. Bluebirds and purple martins perform acrobatics above the dune vegetation, warning me that today the sun will be warm enough to coax gnats and no-see-’ems from winter slumber.

Despite this morning’s late winter chill, I bring coffee and journal to the deck, where the entire arc of the horizon is unobstructed. The weathered oak bench soaked up the night’s freezing temperature, and my pajamas offer no resistance to the cold. The sun is not yet high enough to offer much countering warmth. No matter. Coffee warms from the inside out.

Terns are cavorting in the ripples of the morning’s small waves. Like small children, they leap over the approaching breakers and with wings still flapping, settle back into the water to float until the next wave. There’s maybe a hundred of them playing in the waves, waiting for the new tide to deliver breakfast. As the current carries them down the beach it is harder and harder to distinguish the sparkling white of their wings from the white of the wave tops.

Despite the cold, the air is still. The winter-bare stalks of sea oats barely waver in the morning air. Ocean sounds fill the air. The land birds are yet silent, and slow to greet the morning. The sounds of shore birds are drowned out by the swishes and booms of waves. Even these small foot-high swells have a big voice.

So begins my last peaceful morning at the beach. Tomorrow morning will be filled with carrying my things down the 30 steps to my car, and readying the condo for the next arrival, whoever and whenever that may be. I am grateful for this calm, clear morning, for the sunrise that called me out of bed to see this day begin. The sights and sounds and feel of this morning are my spiritual breakfast, a communion offered by Creation to all who sit at Nature’s table.

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Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

My “smart phone” is only a C student. With only a 3.2 megapixel camera, photos lack the high-resolution and clarity of those taken with newer models. But it is what I have, so it’s what I used to document this morning’s walk in my neighborhood.

Maple Flowers
Maple Flowers

This was the first sunny weekend since mid-January. The sky was brilliantly blue, the sun was bright, and the maples in my front yard responded with their first buds.

Despite the snow and frigid temps of three weekends ago, camellia bus survived unscathed, without their edges being burnt brown by frost.

Camellias Survive Snow Nicely
Camellias Survive Snow Nicely
Grandfather Tree
Grandfather Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I live in one of the first suburbs developed in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. My rural curbside mailbox indicates that my neighborhood was well outside the city limits when it was built on what was forest and farmland. There are still a few old growth trees standing sentinel and providing havens for barred owls and red-shouldered hawks that also call my neighborhood home.

The city grew up around the neighborhood, but there are still aspects that make me feel that I am living in the forest. Fifty years of uninterrupted growth makes even the landscape trees that were planted when the houses were new, create a canopy of branches.

The Urban Forest
The Urban Forest
Deer Super-Highway
Deer Super-Highway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My neighborhood is crisscrossed by creeks, which the neighborhood deer herd uses as super-highways to my vegetable garden. I’ve seen as many as thirteen deer come up from this creek bed and cross the road in front of me.

My neighborhood is characterized by what are now, in the age of McMansions, modest brick ranches and split-level houses. But there is always someone who has to be just a bit pretentious.

Really?
Really?
Sign of the Times
Sign of the Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The neighborhood weathered the financial crisis fairly well. Now that housing prices are beginning to rise again, I see a lot more for sale signs on my walks.

I hope you enjoyed a Sunday morning walk in my neighborhood.

The Transformative Power Of Snow And Friendship

Waking To Sunday Morning Snow
Sunday Morning Snow

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” – Author unknown

I thought we were done with winter. Daffodils began blooming in January. The star magnolias and tulip magnolias burst their buds this week and are in full flower. Migratory robins are dining daily on the worms that rain drives to the surface in my soggy back yard, and chickadees are already gathering sticks for their nests. Friday I walked the neighborhood in shirt sleeves, under long-awaited crystal blue skies.

Yesterday I awoke to snow showers, to saucer-sized flakes drifting past my upstairs window. Snow soon turned to another day of the gray, drizzly rain that is the hallmark of this winter, and I thought we were done with the excitement and beauty that snow promises in the South.

About five in the afternoon Charley ran downstairs to where I was practicing recorder. She rarely takes the stairs on her own, but the first flashes of lightning and rolling booms of thunder explained why she sought me out. She hates storms, and usually predicts their arrival several minutes before I am aware of a change in the weather.

With another explosion of lightning and thunder, snow poured out of the sky. An hour later an inch clung to the fence posts and daffodils. By the end of the storm there was almost three inches covering the ground and outlining each tree branch.

This morning I awoke to a crystalline wonderland. The morning sun lit the top branches of the crape myrtle and cedar, making them sparkle with fairy dust. My back yard was transformed from mud and mire to a white canvas that captured the beauty of the snowy night.

The mud and mire of my heart’s distress is also transformed by the comments and emails I received in response to my post The Yawning Gulf Between Where I Am And Where I Want To Be. You helped me regain both perspective and faith that sight-reading skills do not make one a musician, and that I am a musician whether I ever sight-read another note. You helped me remember what I have accomplished with the harp, and helped me refocus on what I can do instead of seeing only what is still beyond where I am today. You assured me that I will find my way back to the joy that is Music. You held onto the song in my heart when I could not hear it, and sang it back to me when I needed it most. Thank you for your caring, your kindness and your support, and for being my companions on this journey.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 In Pictures

All images © Janet Hince 2012-2013