Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sea and Sound

My husband and I spent three days this week in Salter Path, NC, on a spiritual retreat. Salter Path is on a long barrier island that runs west to east, looking south into the Atlantic Ocean. The surf was rough enough to be fun without being scary. Strong sea breezes ripple the sea oats that create dunes along the shore. Walking and swimming here is a prayer.



A great egret flies across the pond at the retreat center.


A short walk to the south leads to the ocean. The sandy path is shaded by the twisting branches of live oaks that interweave to form a dense canopy.


To the north the path to the sound winds past a pond and through a maritime forest that includes bald cypresses, hollies, live oaks and the occasional Atlantic white cedar, ending up at a salt marsh glowing yellow-green in the sun. Ibises feed along the edges of the salt marsh. Oysters grow in clusters in the shallows.


Seashore mallow, a relative of the hibiscus, grows near the edges of the pond. It's also known as marsh mallow :)


The balls of bald cypress are textured and a striking shade of pale blue-green. 


It's been a privilege within the last three weeks to experience the vastly different natural communities of the mountains and coast. We live about a three hours drive from each. I thought the beach was hot, but as we drove away from the coast, the thermometer in the car climbed relentlessly from 93 degrees to 106 as we neared Raleigh. Sadly, it's the part of the Southern summer that might as well be winter for all the time we spend indoors. So I will dream of cool-warm salty water and the embrace of the waves. 

10 comments :

Donna said...

What a gorgeous place for a retreat...you can see and feel the spiritual nature of the place...seems you enjoyed your time there!

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

What a wonderful place to visit. The egret would have been a highlight for me. Such a majestic bird. Wonderful photos too.

Stacy said...

What a beautiful place--I keep clicking on the top photo to enlarge it. Your description of the salt marsh is really lovely--marginal places like that between land and water are always intriguing. I hope the heat breaks for you all soon!

pumpkydine said...

Oh boy! If I only lived 3 hours from both the mountains and the ocean, I fear I would never stay at home! Ha Ha! There is so much to see at both and the flora and fauna are so different. Enjoyed the trip to Salter Path via your pictures. I know you received a blessing while there.

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

What an incredible retreat! The salt marshes look like an incredible place to observe wildlife and spending time walking along dunes is always inspirational. Beautiful photos!

Sheila Read said...

Donna, yes, I enjoyed the time there. The hard part is the transition back to real life.

Gardenwalkgardentalk, glad you enjoyed the photos. The egrets are beautiful, so still and elegant as they wait for fish.

Stacy, I like the top photo, too. It's my current screensaver. I agree with you about the interest of the margins between land and water - inspires the soul and imagination in ways that are hard to put into words.

Pumpkydine, I wish I could travel a bit more to take advantage of proximity to the mountains and sea. You are right about receiving a blessing - thanks for reminding me!

Karin, it was a special place for a retreat. It was hard to leave. Glad you enjoyed the photos!

Carolyn ♥ said...

Your post is refreshing to my soul, I feel as though I have been for a walk on the beach. I close my eyes and can smell the salty air and hear the soothing sounds of the surf. I love the ocean. Thank you for lifting my spirits this morning. And thank you for your sweet sentiments left on my post. They are so very much appreciated.

Bridget said...

I always find the sea very calming and meditative. Looks a lovely spot.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Very beautiful. Almost as nice as Chebeague :-).

Sheila said...

Carolyn. so glad you were refreshed and your spirits lifted. That is beautiful to hear. I was happy to comment on your lovely and loving reflection ...

Bridget, it is lovely and a meditative spot. So meditative that now I'm having trouble getting practical stuff done!

Carolyn, :) It is almost as nice as Chebeague. Except for the lack of rocks on the beach and the warm water! Could use some cooling breezes, though ...