It’s mid morning on the beach and the ocean is unbelievably calm. A gentle breeze tousles my hair while I sit listening to the ocean breathe. The soft waves spill onto the satin sand with a sigh. Then a deep inhale sweeps the water back homeward.
The light shimmering on the surface shines like a thousand gleaming fish. An osprey slices the surf, plucking its prey with turquoise-tinged talons and then disappears over the dunes.
This morning I saw four small deer stepping gingerly through the upland forest. They saw me and stopped to take in my scent. Seemingly unimpressed they trotted away, pressing their slender hooves into the sandy soil and leaving a wake of heart-shaped tracks like a trail of love letters.
The dunes in the morning are full of tracks. Raccoons appear to be busy exploring the area where the forest meets the dunes. Meanwhile, fox, coyote, and deer tracks can be found at the very edge of the dunes along the coast. It’s remarkable to think of these wild creatures emerging from their daytime hiding places to bask in the moonlight after all the beachgoers are asleep or otherwise encapsulated in slabs of wood and concrete designed to shield us from all things natural.
I stopped briefly to inspect a parking area where I had previously seen a rabbit nibbling in a patch of grass. I had been riding by on a bicycle and stopped suddenly when I caught sight of the rabbit. The rabbit dashed toward a thicket and froze. We stood watching each other. I shifted my weight. The rabbit adjusted its ears. We stood like this until a car came and chased us both away.
Today I found the area strewn with piles of rabbit droppings in various states of decay. Some were very fresh. Others were dissolving back into the earth. Clearly, this was a favorite bunny dining establishment! I hoped that I might have the chance to encounter my new friend again.
Stay tuned for another installment of nature observations in Myrtle Beach.