Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 108: Sanctuary

Sunrise with surfer -- Pawleys Island SC

Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself.

Gautama Buddha

Although a sanctuary can be a place of permanence, it may also be a temporary respite, a place for contemplation and solace. A refresher, if you will. And for the past 35 years or so — maybe even longer — our sanctuary has been the beach, that magical place bordering the ever-changing, yet ever-constant ocean. Our favorite place comes as no surprise to those of you who have followed our blog for a while: Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

At times, I take sanctuary walking the North End of the island, dodging puddles and hopping over rivulets of sand in the hope of finding shells worthy of bagging for the trip home. Sundown is my favorite time (captured in the photo at the top of this post) but I’m fond of sunrise, too, when I seem to have the beach to myself.

Pawleys Island South End houses
My sanctuary place, early morning on the South End of Pawleys Island, SC

Bert, however, prefers dragging his chair to the edge, daring the waves to overtake him feet first. Sometimes his whole lower torso and chair are overcome by salty sea water. “No matter,” he says as he continues to ponder life coated in sand. In his sanctuary, dealing with the ebb and flow of the Atlantic, is just part of the joy of going to the beach.

Sitting by the ocean, Pawleys Island SC
Contemplating the world from a beach chair — Bert’s sanctuary place.

We also take great delight in observing others who, on their own terms, make the ocean a sanctuary of sorts. Today, for example, I rose early for sunrise at Pawleys Pier, but was greeted by dark clouds rolling in ahead of the pending rains that Hurricane Isais may (will?) inflict on the South Carolina shores.

Surfer at Pawleys Pier, Pawleys Island, SC
Storm clouds over Pawleys Pier

Even in the midst of heavy winds, crashing waves, and threatening skies, a lone surfer contemplated a run for it.

Contemplating surfing at Pawleys Island North End
Checking out conditions, a lone surfer keeps his eyes on the waves (usually a sanctuary for surfing) on a dark and stormy morning.

He stood still for a while, then found a spot to the left of the pier that looked suitable. He stretched his arms, marched a bit in place, and then entered the waters with resolve. He had found his sanctuary once again — and a comfort in (not from) the storm.

Surfer at Pawleys Pier, Pawleys Island SC
Readying himself for action, a surfer prepares to enter the ocean on a stormy morning.

No matter how we take refuge, find sanctuary, or thank God for providing the places we need, we do it on our own terms, in our own time.

Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself.

Gautama Buddha

Thanks to Xenia for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary. For more entries, please go to Tranature for beautiful photography, prose and poetry.

May you each find your own sanctuary,

Rusha & Bert

26 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 108: Sanctuary

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We did love the beach and the time we had to reflect, plan, and relax. Actually, watching the hurricane roll through was an interesting experience both during and after. Found out: there’s a lot of cleaning up afterwards when marsh grasses wash up onto streets, yards, and driveways!! Thanks for commenting. Means a lot.

  1. Leya

    Such lovely light, Rusha – and the surfers make me shiver…but, I understand the feeling of sitting there during the storm. It must be fascinating – but a bit frightening too.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You are so right. We watched with caution Hurricane Isaias last night. No damage for us personally but some damage to Pawleys Island. Erosion is the greatest damage but it’s so hard to repair sandy beaches. Thanks for taking a look and commenting. We only have a few days left in our sanctuary.

      1. Leya

        Erosion is vast here on our beaches as well. But at our summer house, they seem to repair themselves every year. I guess because it is an inlet only.

      2. Oh, the Places We See

        Half of this beach was “re-nourished” this past year, but I fear that some of the new sand has already washed away. As one man said on the beach yesterday, “the ocean wind again!”

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much! We’re sitting in a condo at Pawleys Island listening to heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Isaias! Not what most would call a vacation, but exciting in an edgy sort of way. Appreciate you for looking at our post and commenting. Stay safe!!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Me, too! I loved watching him prepare to surf this morning. You couldn’t pay me to get in that choppy, cold water! But a lot of others have gone in and out of the ocean today. Thanks for taking a look and commenting. I appreciate you!

  2. Tina Schell

    So glad to see you enjoying our beautiful SC beaches Rusha, your images are beautiful. I’m a bit worried about your surfer tho – the rip currents are terrible during these storms. Hope he was ok. Looks like we’re going to have a brush with Isaias but are narrowly averting serious damage thank goodness.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Would you believe that I’m looking out the window right now at maybe 7 surfers, and the storm hit about half an hour ago!!! Also, I’m pretty sure this is the first tropical storm/hurricane I’ve ever seen right at the ocean!! It’s interesting.
      I’m glad you saw my post. I tried to comment on Xenia’s blog and leave a comment but received (twice) a message that I couldn’t comment until I was logged in. I added both times my name, email and website, so I don’t know what to do. But I can’t try again until the storm abates. Wi-fi is minimal, so it takes forever to access anything right now. Will try again tomorrow. Also, please check to see if my Lens-Artists tag worked. Thx.
      And now I’m hunkering down!!!

  3. Tranature - quiet moments in nature

    Thank you so much for this beautiful contribution to the challenge Rusha 🧡 The beach looks glorious in morning and evening light and I love Bert’s chair by the waterline! May you both stay safe and well too 🙏

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I’m so glad to hear from you. I tried twice to leave you a message along with my name, email, and website. Both times, I received a message that I was not allowed to comment until I had logged in. So any advice is appreciated. Thx.

      1. Tranature - quiet moments in nature

        I’m sorry to hear you were having difficulty leaving a message Rusha, I’ve received so many lovely comments from you in the past. There’s sometimes a little glitch which makes the system think you are not logged in, even when you are. There’s a wordpress symbol near the bottom of the comment box which you can click. Once clicked, it will show that you are logged in and you can leave a comment. I hope this helps 🤗💖 xxx

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