Christmas Day on Hilton Head Island (2016)

It’s Christmas morning. When I emerged from my bedroom, showered and dressed (that is, insofar as one dresses in this seaside context), I was greeted by the smell of fresh-perked coffee. As always my first project was to peel two Mardarin oranges and separate them and deposit the segments into a bowl to which I added prunes and Golden berries.  My bowl of fruit and cup of coffee were then placed onto the dining table at which I perched to gaze at the seashore and then fired up my computer to commence another day of electronic communications and meditative ramblings.

The dimpled blue surface of the Ocean is calm today, streaked with mirror-like slivers, a fringe of mist on the horizon. Dolphins are jumping near the shore. White birds skim the water; a lone walker in a white shirt contemplatively plods upon the beach. The bird and the walker are brushes of light against the foggy sky, both brightly reflecting the rising sun like tiny beacons. A small doe forages on the dunes, then stands transfixed, munching, ears perked as she regards the walker in the distance. Several other deer materialize to form an eastward bound assembly.

We began our Christmas Day ceremony by telephoning my elderly mother.  The call was placed earlier than normal and as a result we were met with an expression of her initial reluctance to take part in the Christmas Day dinner scheduled at my sister’s house later today.  While we chatted about her health and the weather, mother advised the staff arrived with her coffee and breakfast.  I assured mother that after she had eaten something she would no doubt feel inclined to participate in the celebrations and to deliver her gifts to the family. She hesitatingly agreed and we rang off amidst a gleeful exchange of Merry Christmases.

Within moments of that call my iPhone proclaimed an incoming FaceTime call from my friend and physician.  Catching him on this continent at this time of the year is highly unusual and he proudly illustrated the snow upon the meadow in the background. The next moments were consumed in a review of what his immediate and extended family were doing today – or in the case of the South African clan – yesterday.  He gratefully confirmed his intention to spend the day with his chocolate Labrador Finn before making dinner preparations for his late afternoon guests. We strengthened the substance of the Day by alighting briefly upon the less than ethereal subjects of real estate and automobiles.

Our sole ambition today – as on any other – is to bicycle upon the beach.  The tides are favourable to our expedition. We have the perfect window of opportunity.  it is currently 72℉ and the wind is NE 11km/hr. We have just passed the noon hour which signals a slightly preemptive start, such is our enthusiasm this Christmas Day!

Tide Information for Calibogue Cay – December 24, 2016

H 03:51 AM
L 10:05 AM
H 03:58 PM
L 10:15 PM


What serendipity!  The beach could not have been more desirable for cycling today!  Even though the north wind was moderately stronger than forecasted, it was a refreshing complement to the warmer than expected sunshine. And what made the ride especially pleasant was that the sand was exceedingly smooth and dry and the expanse of the beach was wide. There were as anticipated many families upon the beach on Christmas Day but there was no difficulty careering around their congregations which were mere isolated specks upon a broad tableau. The cerulean water adjacent the golden sandy beach presented a highly desirable view. At Coligny Park we paused after six miles to relax for a moment.  Email emissions from the North were beginning, relating the tale of unfolding storybook Christmas Day with children and family.

Hearth by E. Marion Hladkowicz, Esq.

Though the flawlessness of the day and the beach beaconed me to go further I decided to return homeward instead, partly an admission of my age and evaporating intensity. Upon reaching the condominium and having parked and locked my bike I headed directly to the pool where I positioned a lounge chair between two palm trees into the late afternoon sun as it began its declension over Daufuski Island.
What blissful repose! Within minutes I was tranquillized by the warmth of the sun, succumbing to the pleasure of stretching my mind and body into Infinity. For slightly more than an hour I wafted in and out of sleep, listening to the little birds chirping like the closing of a minute ornamented jewelry case.

Back at the apartment I prepared the dressing for what I mockingly called a “modified” Caesar salad which is naturally nothing out of the ordinary other than perhaps the addition of some fresh shrimp. There won’t be any turkey dinner or Christmas pudding here!  Just the red ball of the sun setting on the crimson horizon over the Ocean.  Some stragglers along the beach are pushing their bicycles.  They miscalculated the high tide but they likely haven’t far to go as they are almost at Land’s End.