It’s Been A while.

Friday, March 25

It’s been quite a while since we checked in. We’re sorry to leave our readers hanging. We had survived a string of misfortunes: mechanical, medical and meteorological, which didn’t exactly stop us, but the combination wore us out to the point where we just needed some non-blog time to relax, spend some time on the beach, do some photography and writing and just BE. Oh yeah, we also had to nurse a sick Sprocket with three trips to the vet. Finally got the right diagnosis and medications that fixed him up. He’s a new dog, just like changing the batteries!

We had sucked the marrow from the cultural bones of Myrtle Beach, and then, what remained, was the eternal seashore: sometimes very cold and windswept, often quite abandoned (lovely).

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It was different every day, with occasional middens of shells in which promising bits of coral could hide, or lone, wet treasures at water’s edge (the waves’ bait, to entice and splash us, unaware).

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Foraging on the sand, or above us flew gulls, terns, cowbirds, pigeons, jackdaws, cormorants, and rare, silent flights of five or so brown pelicans, their outspread wingtips almost touching the waves, the leader correcting altitude and two seconds later, the next, and then the next, and then the next. ‘AH!’ We’d say in wonder and gratitude. ‘AH!’


We exchanged ‘hellos’ with the many days’ passing of regular dog-walkers, shell-stoopers, or cell-phoning strollers. To spare my pockets, I made a collecting bag from a small mesh laundry bag, the front opening jutting out, to catch any wet, sandy treasure I’d toss in. By end of the walk, most sand and wet would be gone. I snapped a pair of bamboo glove-liners and some curl-around ear-muffs to its strap. These often made the difference between a leisurely walk in 14 mph winds and a hasty retreat back to the confines of the ePod.

After museum-hopping in DC, savoring old favorite ‘modern’ or recent contemporary art, our esthetics were prepared for the glorious subtleties of sea-shattered, polished shell fragments. We recognized the minute Arps, the Moores, the Giacomettis, stretched out upon the Dali-esque perspective of the Grand Strand, punctuated by moody searching figures, just like us, in a half-mile perspective, beneath a Magritte sky.

Soon, a sort of collector’s taxonomy of shapes developed: the pierced ‘faces’ in the russet shells, some cheerful, some sinister, like jack-o-lanterns, the smooth amber ‘tiles’ of worn shells, the musical clink of unbroken black scallops. Some shells had holes and lines cut on their surfaces like Runic codes, while occasional clams bore rows of linear ‘text’, with a band of ornate wiggly ‘script’ above it, like small Rosetta stones.


We found clam fragments as thick and useless as broken crockery, or others, completely riddled with ‘wormholes’ like obsessively carved jade. I’m told minute mollusks attach themselves and gently rock their way into the shells for shelter and mineral nutrients, leaving wonderful worm-like tunnels. The surface can easily be confused with coral; in fact, corals often used them for a good starter surface. Tiny mollusks tunneled larger, black rocks as well, which simply beg to be the centerpiece of a miniature Zen garden, surrounded by white circles and waves of sand.

The Cormorant

We also had an injured bird experience when we walked the beach just before supper one night. All human/dog footprints had been obliterated by stormy winds and tide, and just two wide sand-vehicle tracks stretched down the blank beach. A curious-looking brown object stood in one of the tracks. First, when a feather lifted in the wind I thought it might be an owl. I slowly approached, signaling Bruce to take Sprocket farther down the beach from me.

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It was a cormorant, with its head tucked under its wing, swaying on its webbed toes when the wind gusted.

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I bent low to send it hovering Reiki, and it didn’t stir. The feathers on its exposed neck were like the dense fur of a beaver, and the rest of its feathers were beaded with salt spray, laced with sticky sand. I gently palmed its back and still, it didn’t stir. I could feel the Reiki energy flow, though. I palmed its throat and breast with the other hand and it pulled its head out to look at me with a beautiful, pale blue eye.

It unfolded its wings in that characteristic way they have for drying, after their wings have become saturated from diving. The feathers were so matted in that fierce, wet, salty wind, that I knew its attempt was hopeless. The wind merely caught them like sails and knocked the poor bird over! It righted itself and I soothed it with Reiki sounds and touch. Its tail feathers relaxed and I carefully put one hand beneath its belly and one hand on its back and lifted it to the dune’s crest where tall grasses could soften the harsh winds.

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I rejoined Bruce and Sprocket and walked a while, wondering what to do. It was well after 5:30, so any agency that could help would be closed. On our way back, I saw that it had moved down the dune’s slope a bit, when a gust of wind rolled it and it crumpled, beak into sand, then righted itself. So sad. Another cormorant flew high above us, the two not noticing each other. I headed back to the truck, bereft.

In the rig, much later that night, I remembered that I could have towel-wrapped a bottle full of hot water in a carton, and perhaps carried the bird in, to warm it. That’s the first, basic bird rescue thing and I’d forgotten. But then, I released this belated thought and slept.

The memory of that soft body stayed with my hands and I held them in that position much of the night on a surrogate buck-wheat bolster as I’d been taught for Reiki sending. I could feel the pulse and unity of healing, and couldn’t remove my hands. Then I included Sprocket in the proxy, for he’d been ailing and shaking periodically the last couple days (then he’d be fine and energetic, wanting long walks)

Bruce took him out early the next morning and said the cormorant wasn’t there. I’ll never know, but will hope. What an intimate privilege it had been, to hold such a beautiful creature of air and water, with no creation of fear! I hope the Reiki made some difference in the quantum entanglement of life.

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