The Breathtaking Appeal of Salt Life

salt life

The Breathtaking Appeal of Salt Life

Brilliant rays of deep purple and orange fire were breaking over the horizon as I crossed the border into Carolina. It was an auspicious start to my time out into salt life.

I can always tell when I make that transition into Carolina. The leafy trees give way to massive pines and sprawling live oaks that are twisted by storms. Life slows its pace. The breeze blows more gently, and the air smells of salt and fish. Nature lives here. It’s earthy, and I love it.

Mimicking the unhurried tempo of life, I slowed my roll and stopped to watch the sun make its way above the horizon. Each moment he displayed more light, different colors, and illuminated the landscape.

It’s hard to imagine that this happens every day all over the world and people choose to sleep through it, can’t view it from where they are, or don’t even think about the amazing glory that they are missing.

The rising sun began to awaken birds who ran along the shore snatching breakfast from the receding waves. I felt a little hungry too and walked to a pier side restaurant with a lit sign that said “Best Breakfast on the Beach.” The pickup trucks lining the parking lot sported rows and rows of giant fishing poles, bait buckets, and coolers identifying their drivers as fishermen.

If it was good enough for fishermen, it was good enough for me. After a leisurely pause over shrimp and grit, I continued my journey south and over to the remote getaway.

Surrounded by a national park, there are few people here. The sea reshapes the landscape continuously, and the scenery changes from season to season.

Storms and hurricanes wash away roadways, trees, and homes, and deposit sand in places that had none. The result is that this place is as wild today as it was hundreds of years ago, or maybe even a thousand years ago.

But that’s perfect because I came here to rewild. I want to leave cultivated, civilized, orderly life behind for a while and touch something salty and raw.

I walk along the shore for forty five minutes without seeing a soul before a group of dolphins frolicking in the waves catch my eye. The water is chilly, but I move towards them intent on sharing their joy of the sea. As I bob atop the waves, I am at once in awe of the enormous power beneath me and also am at one with it.

Has it been a moment or a lifetime? It’s hard to tell, but after a while, I leave the surf. The sun dries my skin and clothes as I walk across the sand and return to the tiny, enchanting village.

Although I came to be with the non-human nature, I find myself enjoying the local human life too. It’s easy to tell residents from visitors. The locals are creased by the sun, relaxed, and move with the unhurried pace of island life. I really like it here, and although it’s been less than a day, I quickly fall into their easy rhythm.

After an amazing sunset, it doesn’t take long for the sky to turn black. With no light pollution, the stars sparkle with breathtaking clarity – a million points of light across the vast universe.

Life is a spectacular blend of brutality and beauty. And salt life captures that all so well. If you need to rewild, I can think of no better place. Give it a try.

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