Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seeking Astonishment

Brown pelicans by the hundreds rest, squat, stand, wait on the distant sandbar that emerges from the ocean only at low tide. Occasionally the pelicans stretch their wings and throat pouches, fly from one spot to another, depart from or arrive in small or large groups on the sandbar that looks to be about half a mile out but is probably further. Too far for photo.

Other shorebird species have gathered there as well, feeding on the plethora of tasty morsels to be found on the temporarily exposed ocean floor. A willet flies from there to here, landing near enough to the barrier rocks on which I sit . . .

. . . wading long enough to be worth digging out a camera, blurry though the photo would turn out to be. 

One could never guess by his ordinary brownness what striking black and white wing bars the willet exposes in flight. His spectacular bill seems interesting enough. Yet his hidden wing bars are an additional reward for those who sit long enough to spy them.

No people venture out to the sandbar, one of the few places they don't go, here at the South Beach of Tybee Island, GA— partly because it's too far for a casual walk through treacherous tide pools . . .

. . . partly due to fear, like mine, of not being able to get safely back when the tide returns and buries the route under ten feet of strong currents, so say the signs.

I'm here on a writing retreat with a group of six friends—writers and painters—among us, one hired chef. We call ourselves Inkfingers. Not a lot of ink has passed my fingers on this fourth day of eight.  Mostly reading, walking, enjoying the company of like-minded friends, and meditating by the ocean.

L to R: Carla, Sheila, Deb, Kaaren, Riki, minus Chef Lil.
We gather early each morning for a literary reading and to proclaim our creative goals for the day, then return for happy hour to share our findings. I've come mostly to this southern tip of the island, to wait with the pelicans for new inspiration. Few people make it this far from the hotels at the top of the island—evenso, too many for my liking. It's hard to find enough silence and solitude for deep writing on such a popular beach. No wonder the pelicans and their friends and relations congregate on the sandbar far away.

Today I'm filled with a breathless desire to spread wing and lift across the water, leaving behind the unknown beach walkers and bathers who have just as much right to be here as I do, who are undoubtedly intensely interesting people, who might be seeking the same astonishment I'm hoping to find. dkm