Armchair Peregrinations

Folly Beach, S.C., east end, Summer 1996

October 4, 1998

In two years, I've not yet seen light and sky conditions as perfect as on the late afternoon in 1996 when I took this picture at my favorite spot on Folly Beach. A big thunderstorm had blown through earlier in the afternoon, washing away every last bit of particulate matter, haze and gauzy obstruction in the atmosphere to reveal a pristine oceanscape, and a crisp, sharp and brilliant -- a near flawless -- sky. Every picture I took on that roll was just what I expected. It's that rare opportunity to get pictures that reveal a time and place exactly as it appeared at the time.

This spot, with Morris Island Lighthouse in the background, has been a refuge I've sought out for more than 30 years. It always looks the same, except for the retreating and advancing of the sand along the beach, eroding and building up in a ceaseless barrier island process. Countless times I've watched gulls and pelicans soar over this inlet. People are drawn to this spot irresistibly. I've written about it on many occasions (see my Aug. 17 journal entry). Today I'll go back out there and let the wind and waves work their restorative magic. Sometimes, there is no place I'd rather be. This stretch of beach is as much a part of the place I now call home as anything about this area can or ever will be.

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