This is our fifth year on Hilton Head Island and we know from experience that on the first Monday after the New Year the short-term tourist population dries up quickly. Today – Monday, January 5th – was no exception to this prescription. It was immediately apparent this morning as we entered the beach at Beach Club Resort that the vast beach once again belonged to but a few. As though to emphasize the point at the beach entrance to Coco’s Bar (now thankfully closed for the season) we met two different people, both over the age of 70 years, both snowbirds from “the north” (Long Island and Maine). Gone were the families and their children. There were predominantly solitary individuals and elderly couples walking on the beach, obviously getting their daily constitutional, mysteriously exuding their satisfaction at being rid of the holidaying children and grandchildren.
The tide had receded more than usual today, contributing to an exceptionally expansive beach, a full-scale boulevard of dry sand and occasional small glittering ponds. I have yet to master a knowledge of the tides, when they can be expected to come and go, how their patterns can be predicted, why their routine changes seemingly endlessly. Do the tides have rules? Are they governed exclusively by the moon? Does a full moon make any difference?
As I mechanically cycle along the smooth sandy surface, without pushing myself any more than necessary to make minimal progress against the wind, I imagine writing a collection of stories which capture life on the Island, what it means to live next to the Atlantic Ocean under the dome of the blue sky and the huge horizon. The lead character could be a pirate. That I thought was better than “Spin A. Kerr”. It’s all silly; I’ll just continue to write as I do. Besides I’ve never been any good at fiction.