Lowcountry Tides and the Changes in Life

Memorial Day weekend ushers in the official beginning of summer. Along with the obvious tribute to our brave men and women in the armed forces, the sun seems a little hotter and the water temperature is not as cool.

Sunscreen, bottles of water, bread, peanut butter, etc., are all on my list to take in the boat. My daddy, a seasoned Johns Island boater, always said to never leave the shore without food and water. So with the coolers packed and boat in good shape, off we went to Abbapoola Creek to join a ka-zillion other boaters in Charleston.

To catch a high tide in the late afternoon is the most desirable scenario. We explored creeks with million dollar homes and passed jon boats with folks fishing and casting.

When I was a child we always anchored off the shore of Bird Key. I could not contain my excitement as we rounded the bend in Stono River revealing two channel markers that framed this large lump of sand on the Atlantic Ocean. Folly Beach is on the left of this island paradise and Kiawah is on the right. We loved to explore the back of Bird Key since so many artifacts washed up on the beach. There were wading pools and the adventure of the ocean on one side of the island and the calmness of the Folly River on the other side. We collected dead men’s fingernails and mermaid’s pocketbooks. It was a perfect treasure Island for children complete with an occasional Jellyfish sting.

Hugo moved Bird Key to the left of Stono Inlet and completely restructured the island. It has been many years since Hurricane Hugo hit the coast and the island has never moved back to its original place. In fact on a very low tide, you can practically walk to Folly Beach. Unfortunately, Bird Key is no longer a place to explore ocean treasures since various birds now roost there and signs are posted proclaiming the island as a bird refuge.

However, across Stono Inlet, is what we call “The Poor Man’s Kiawah,” Sandy Point. Penny Creek runs on the side of the island. If you ride up the creek you will see the Ocean Course where the Rider Cup Golf Tournament was played several years ago. We always love cruising that quaint creek and decided to enjoy the ride once again.

The tide was high but we immediately knew there was a problem as the motor struggled. Penny Creek has fallen victim to the changing tides. The once deep creek is now a shallow body of water. My husband, Thomas was able to negotiate the boat into deeper water and head out into Stono Inlet.

I had no idea how shallow that creek was until the next day when my daughter, Caroline and I rode the jet ski to Penny Creek and realized we were stuck on a sandbar in about eight inches of water. We had to ask several strong men to lift the jet ski and place it in deeper water.

Many times, life changes as quickly as the tides reconstruct our beaches and creeks. Just like the pull of the flow of the saltwater, my heart is filled with cherished memories. I can still see my daddy’s pride and joy, the Never-No, anchored off the coast of Bird Key. I remember the Mako Shark he caught in Stono Inlet that is mounted above the mantel in the den. I can see my mother in her swimsuit on the beach as she worked on her golden tan. My best childhood friend, Leize and I are running on the beach without a care in the world. Little did we know that many years later, we would have the responsibilities caring for our aging parents and all the tears of family hurts.

Yes, life changes with the many tides in life. Thanks be to God that through it all, He is our anchor.

Jane Jenkins Herlong is a professional motivational humorist, professional singer and author. She can be reached at jane@janeherlong.com or www.janeherlong.com Followe her on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and iTunes.

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