This is the sight that greets you as you come up the boardwalk to Nod, a small, "quaint" beach house on Pawleys Island, SC. This is a sight that never fails to take my breath away, and make my eyes tear up, and fill my lungs with sweet, warm, salt air. Pawleys Island, as welcoming as a grandmother's hug.
Tutt and I have been coming here for ten years. Two weeks a year. Two weeks of wonder and magic, sun and fun and memories. Each year has new adventures. On year, it was the launching of baby turtles into the sea. There is a Turtle Patrol here on the island, and they are serious as a heart attack about protecting the Loggerhead Turtle. They put huge orange plastic nets over the turtle nests and dare anyone, man, woman, child or dog to go near them. Then, when they hatch, they are "helped" along to the ocean. One year in September, I was honored on my 50th birthday to be one of the "helpers". You mostly just watch them go and marvel at the beginning of a 200 years life.
We eat lunch and look out on the tops of dancing beach umbrellas and sometimes catch a glimpse of pods of black dolphins doing a graceful water ballet. And always to the accompaniment of the gently surging ocean. Music beyond price.
In the late afternoon, we mosey over to the creek dock to share laughter, conversation and the sunset with our friends from the house next door, The Wooden Shoe.
Over the years, we have each lost people in our lives, and together, we have celebrated them and mourned them each in our turn with our friends here at Pawleys. A unique and beautiful tribe.
The first year we came here, I wrote these words in the "House Journal" that the owners liked to keep. Guest were encouraged to jot down a little something in Nod's diary. This is what I wrote in our first year:
Thurs. May 31, '01
Once, the door sills were painted gunmetal gray; now they have been warn smooth by the bare, sandy feet of legions of reverent visitors who cherish the slanting floors, and wooden planking walls as much as we do. "We" being Ann Spicer and Dan Tuttle. We have had a lovely week. Nod is all we had hoped for and more--we even remarked on that fact while we had coffee on the screened porch last year, while we were staying in a very nice, impersonal condo at Gulf Shores, we longed for a "little house right on the beach".
Thank you Nod...we're home at last. Ann Spicer, Monterey, Ky.
And as we were gathering up to leave...
Friday, June 1, '01
Time to think about folding our beach umbrella and starting the long drive home. But I have a secret...on some future trip, probably a business trip to some cold, impersonal hotel, I will open my suitcase and find the fine, white sand of Pawleys and I will remember...
It is a love affair that continues. Age does not dim the magic.