At precisely 1:30 p.m. this afternoon we cycled out of the beachside condominium parking lot and immediately connected to the path adjacent South Sea Pines Drive. This account is hardly news for we do it practically every day. What however was novel was that overnight the ambient temperature had fallen from a midday high of about 75ºF to 57°F. In preparation for the jaunt I resisted donning woollen gloves but I sported a large woollen cardigan over my thin cotton hoodie (under which I wore a white T-shirt). Even thus clad in so many layers it was noticeably cool. Indeed very quickly I remarked that the weather resembled what in Ontario would qualify as an early autumn day though here it passed as a winter day. The dry fallen leaves on the path crackled under our wheels as we rolled along. Within an instant I imagined a roaring fireplace in a cozy study, sipping a frozen martini and reading an improving Jane Austen book. I inhaled deeply and rejoiced in the uncommonly fresh sea air.
It didn’t however escape me that in spite of the conjunction of the low wintry light, grey skies and reposeful sensibilities, there was no fear of snow. The sight of the very distinguished palmettos ensured the abeyance of snow and comforted me to permit the chilly air to insinuate my being without hostility. It nonetheless requiredmaccommodation on my part to adjust to the imposition of so-called winter while surrounded by hanging moss and palm trees.
Although we attempted to join the beach at Beach Club, the tide was too high for cycling. We thought we might sufficiently defer the beach adventure by going further north along Sea Pines Drive and Forest Beach Road to Coligny Park, but once there we came to the same conclusion. A hurried glance at the Ocean told us that the tide had not yet crested and our ambition was defeated. With New Year’s Day only two days gone, already the beach was fairly deserted; the families with children primed for school on Monday had begun to make their way home. The thin and ragged ribbon of sand between the crashing surf and the dunes was a forlorn and uninviting walkway on this grey Sunday afternoon. We headed back along a different path, this time on Pope Avenue to Cordillo Road then Sea Pines Drive to the condominium.
As I had only recently commented by email to a distant friend in Wales, apart from bicycling the other consuming obsession of ours is eating. Therefore when we returned home we prepared ourselves to go to Harris Teeter to collect some provisions, a venture which as always became more protracted than originally anticipated and all the more prolific as the result of our having bicycled for two hours in the cool air, stimulating an appetite. The constituents of salt, sugar and fat figured prominently in our not so judicious shopping. It wasn’t long after our return home that, having hurriedly unloaded our parcels, we extinguished our passion and left the dining table groaning. We then contented ourselves to indulge our customary pastimes on our computers while preparing for the sixth and final season of Downton Abbey on PBS television.