Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 109: Under the Sun

Rain at sunrise, Pawleys Island, SC

What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiates 1:9

Amy’s theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo ChallengeUnder the Sun — couldn’t come at a better time. Bert and I are wrapping up a rare two-week vacation at our favorite beach in South Carolina — Pawleys Island — and each year we look forward to the same old, same old. We love the familiarity of our place.

Sundown with clouds, North End, Pawleys Island SC
Under the sun and under the clouds — North End, Pawleys Island, SC

But this year we may have to disagree with Solomon who’s credited with saying “There is nothing new under the sun.” Because this year, some things WERE new.

First Sunrise

First, I must admit that I wasn’t sure the three pre-teens staying in our beach house would get up in time to see a sunrise. But they did. Yes, there was a bit of hesitation. Grumbling even. But when they emerged onto the beach in partial darkness with only the wind and waves for accompaniment, they were hooked. With phones in hand, they waited patiently to snap their first pictures of a sun moving upward from the horizon to light the day. And I stood behind them, proud to be a mover and a shaker of sorts. It was a first, but hopefully not a last.

First sunrise, Pawleys Island SC
Three kids ready to capture their first sunrise

First Major Critter

Second, we’ve seen more critters than we can count at the beach. Some are in the ocean — like dolphins that get our attention when anyone sights an arch or two. And some on the beach, like jellyfish that wash ashore and get poked or prodded by kids curious to see what they’re made of.

But seeing a young ‘gator emerge from the ocean waters onto the beach: well, that was a first. Last week, every person on the South End of Pawleys at the Birds’ Nest section cautiously wrenched themselves out of their beach chairs to see the critter, keeping their distance but taking shot after shot at this little one who seemed as stunned as we were.

Alligater on Pawleys Island, South End
Crawling out of the ocean, an alligator watches and waits for his next move.

Fortunately, after about a half-hour wait, a take-charge lady from animal control arrived and lassoed the little dude like she’s probably done with others a thousand times before. For almost all of us standing and staring though, it was a first (and memorable) under-the-sun experience.

First Day on a Renourished Beach

Third, Pawleys needed new sand. With normal beach erosion and high tides threatening to flood homes and cause water-related problems that any good barrier island can expect, it was time for a renourishment. But what we got was jaw-dropping. With a shocking 1.1 million cubic yards of sand, Pawleys South End looked more like a moonscape than the soft, welcoming beach we had become accustomed to. We’ll get used to it, I suppose, but this was definitely something new under the sun for us regulars.

Renourished beach at South End, Pawleys Island SC
A longer walk to the ocean for beachgoers on Pawleys Island’s South End

First Hurricane, First Surfers

Finally, we’ve both been through hurricanes before (We grew up in Louisiana!) but never at the beach. That ended with our late-night watch of Hurricane Isaias pummeling Pawleys Island. So what happened? First, lots of rain. Then flooding of the marshes, washing up tons of brown marsh grass onto highways, driveways, and lawns. But then, during the morning after the storm, an onslaught of surfers (70 maybe?) lobbied for positions at the North End near Pawleys Pier. It was a first for us to see so many, especially in a Southern state.

Surfers, North End of Pawleys after Hurricane Isaias
Surfers took to the beach at the North End of Pawleys after Hurricane Isaias moved on.

Lots of first this year, but hopefully not any “lasts.” In fact, most of us who are lucky enough to be at the beach agree on one thing: We’re happy to be under the sun for yet another day.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Home now and using aloe for sunburn,

Rusha & Bert

Photo at top: A first shot at rain at sunrise on Pawleys Island, SC.

Be sure to check out all the entries in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Under the Sun at Amy’s blog, The World Is a Book.

And if you like photos of beaches, stay tuned to Oh, the Places We See. We’re starting a series of posts that will make you hanker to get a little sand between your toes and some color on your cheeks. It’s BEACH WEEK on the blog, coming up!

22 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 109: Under the Sun

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I was told that it came from the ocean. A machine pulled it up and literally “blew” it onto the beach. Perhaps that would explain why it the sand and all the shells have a lifeless color to them.

  1. Curt Mekemson

    I’d say that alligator looks quite proud, Rusha! And surfers. I did some body surfing at OBX on our recent visit. And then took to the boogie board. I think the grandkids were impressed (or at least amused) to see there 77 year old grandpa playing in the waves! 🙂 –Curt

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Well, I don’t know about your grandkids, but I’m impressed!!!! We went in the ocean some. The water felt soo good, but so did my beach chair. Good for you enjoying life whenever and wherever you can!!!!

  2. dawnkinster

    I loved that first image, what a sky! And so glad the young ones got up to see the sunrise. BUT. A gator in the ocean? Really? I didn’t know they did salt water. Now I won’t feel safe anywhere!

  3. Jane Lurie

    Beautiful post, Rusha. Love your morning shot with your pre-teens. Your influence and appreciation of nature will always be a part of them. These bring back nice sunrise memories on Kiawah. Glad you weathered the storm well.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I asked the kids the night before if they would get up with me. All said “Maybe.” So I wasn’t sure any would go. But herd mentality won out, and they each said, “If you’re going, I’ll go.” It was the one and only time during the week that they did so. But so worth it!!! Thanks for commenting. Wish I were back there in many ways.

  4. Amy

    Enjoy reading your something new under the sun, Rusha. The first image is beautiful and very precious! It will stay in their memories for a long time. Thank you for sharing the new experience and stories with us.

  5. maristravels

    All I can say is (gulp) I’d have been first off that beach at the sight of even a baby ‘gator. Is the sea there known to have adult ‘gators? They would need guard patrolling, surely?

      1. cindy knoke

        I wish I could go into your gallery and turn the photos around. It is probably a WP glitch. Doesn’t matter really. Any which way, the photos and your posts are a breath of fresh air.

  6. Tina Schell

    I obviously loved this one Rusha – like a taste of home for me. we heard Pawley’s got hit pretty hard although I think Myrtle was hit even harder. Hope there was no significant lasting damage. We’ve had 2 gators on the beach this year – first time I’ve known that to happen in 25 years. Climate change? Pandemic behavior? Who knows??? Renourishment – check! Although of late we’ve seen more accretion luckily for us. And finally, yes, surfers are quite rare here but we had a few as well. So dangerous with hurricanes winds and rip tides but I guess it’s worth it to them. Not to me thanks!!! Anyway, glad you had a great visit. Next year, if no pandemic, we shall meet for sure!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for your comments. I don’t think the hurricane damage is too bad, but then I’ve never been there for others. Some of that new sand, however, has been chipped away. The beach may start to look better, but that’s not what homeowners are hoping for. They want protection. As for the surfers, they were so close to the pier. I kept thinking someone would get dashed into it. Thanks for commenting and sharing your beautiful photos.

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