Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Raining Zen...

Today has been an extremely rainy day. Brilliant. It has been falling pretty consistently for several hours, and I have no complaints. Earlier this morning (around 7:30) I decided that a drive over to Tybee Island for some photos was in order. It had been awhile since my last outing, so the time was ripe. Overcast weather is my favorite time to snap pictures. The mood is ideal. I also was in need of I needed...something. Don't really know what. I just needed a regroup. To find a neutral space to re-energize and bolster my creative self.

My picture taking odyssey would start at a turn off with a boat ramp along the road over to Tybee. I had initially thought I would stop there to get some shots of the wide plain of marsh grasses that grow thickly to the horizon line. As I signalled and slowed to turn, I discovered some other visitors hanging out on the small dock that sat along the bank to the left of the ramp. There are several tall wooden pillars that brace the dock along it's edges, and sitting atop the pillars were some large and apparently dozing pelicans. I parked and got out of the truck as quietly as possible. Moving slowly, I was able to get rather close without causing them to take flight. I snapped away and got several nice photos. Then I left them to their slumber and headed on to Tybee.

My main destination was the area around the Tybee lighthouse. There is also an old fort along the beach right across the street from it. On an earlier visit to that same area, I had taken note of the public beach on the side of the fort opposite of the lighthouse. At that time I had seen some signs about it also being a site for protected wildlife (sea turtles, I believe). I made my way to the big parking lot that sat between the fort and the beach.

Except for a couple of cars, the huge lot was empty. It was also starting to rain a little harder. Not wanting to have come all that way for nothing, I pulled up to one of the pay stations for parking fee prices. Although it was monitored, the paid parking is pretty much a do-it-yourself operation. The first two I pulled up to were out of order. I was beginning to think that something was trying to tell me that it wasn't my day for a visit to the beach. The third time was the charm. My intent wasn't to stay too terribly long. The rain was the deciding factor on that score. It was $1.00 for 40 minutes, and $1.50 for an hour. Only had $1.15 in change, so it looked like it was going to be 40 minutes. I paid, got my receipt, hid my purse under the seat, and grabbed the truck keys and the camera. I was ready.

My excitement was palpable. As I entered the wooden railed foot bridge, I knew I was there for a reason. No idea what it was. Something I needed. Stopping, I snapped a couple of pictures. Whatever it was I didn't really need to know what to call it. Tangible. Intangible. Didn't really make a difference. I was on an adventure. I felt serene. I was standing in the chilly morning air, a slight drizzle falling on me, my stomach slightly aflutter with the butterflies of contentment, and the roar of the ocean calling to me over the rise. Things couldn't get much more perfect than that. Reaching the crest of the bridges arc, I continued down the other side to the tan mottled beach sand. Dunes covered in patchy sea grass, assorted bushes and chunks of weathered trees surrounded me. I had a couple of options as far as paths to the beach. One looked less traveled than the other, so of course...I picked that one. There was also a big sign on the far side of the dunes warning of the rip tides that ran along the breakwater. "Stay off the rocks", was the main instruction. Reading what I could, it intrigued me. Had to investigate.

My hair was pretty damp by that point, and my hands were getting cold. None of it really bothered me though. Not even the droplets of water covering the lenses of my glasses. I was in such a wonderful zone. One advantage of the rain was that it made the sand a bit compact, so it was easier to walk on in my tennis shoes. As I got nearer to the water, the sounds of the waves crashing got a bit louder. When the beach opened up in front of me, one of the rip tides broke against the line of barrier rocks. The wave hit the line at an angle, so it broke in a beautiful progression as it went down the line. Foamy water lapped up over the sands, rolling the collection of small shells that covered the ground at my feet. The rain was at a steady light drizzle, a soft breeze danced around me, and the waves crashed against the rocks sending a spray that I never felt...the rain was dominant.

At first I had felt alone. I had seen a couple walking along the beach as I crossed the bridge, but they were almost to the dot stage when I reached the water. After taking in my initial impressions of the water, I quickly realized that I was far from alone. There were a number of birds running around. The usual grey and white seagulls, but there were also two other types I didn't recognize. One looked like crows, but I knew they weren't crows. The others were smaller and dark brown to black brown. Scared of me they were not. At one point, I crouched down to get some shots of the water, and they came walking up to within a few feet of me. Maybe they thought I had some food for them. I snapped a few, and they went about their business of looking for some food of the shelled variety. Then I noticed something move out in the water. It was a dolphin breaking the surface. It wasn't close, but close enough to provide a good picture. In theory anyway. I tried a few times to capture it, but it became kind of funny. I would snap the picture just as it went below the surface. Oh well. As I continued to watch the crashing tides, the rain picked up. Didn't matter. I had a little more time before the meter would run out, and I wasn't ready to leave.

I spent the remainder of my visit to the beach just wandering around. Walking past a vacant blue lifeguard stand. Spying a wooden swing that I would love to have sat on had it not been cold and wet (filing it away for warmer weather). Stumbling on a huge gathering of seagulls, and yet another type of sea bird I can't identify. (Me thinks I'll be spending some quality time with Google to see if I can find out what they all are.) It was just wonderful. It was inspiring.

That's what it had been all about. Sending me some calm, and giving a reboot to my inspiration. To my creativity. It much needed. I have a children's book to finish writing and illustrating, and a novel to write. My day of inspiration couldn't have come at a better time.

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