The Edge of America…The Edge of Life…

A winter walk on Folly Beach, SC, aka “The Edge of America,” is always a journey to see how the tides have changed the shifting sands of time.  The Morris Island Lighthouse teeters on the edge of existence because the ocean is literally eroding it to the point of collapse.  There is an organized local effort to Save the Lighthouse, a historic landmark, with fundraisers and lobbying for saving its centuries old life.  This grassroots effort seeks to shore up its foundation so that it will not succumb to the pounding waves and end up in an ocean grave.  Whenever I come here I do wonder as I trudge the sandy path, like stomping through snow drifts up north, if the lighthouse will still be there.  I always breathe a deep sigh of relief when I cross the dune threshold and see it standing, still taking the rhythmic and sometimes fierce beatings of the waves, and I echo a silent thanks to the Creator of the universe for allowing this landmark to withstand the forces of nature.

Walking this beach on a warm February day while most of the country is gripped by winter blizzards inspires me to appreciate the solitude of driftwood and dead trees that tell the story of time’s passing; that say “Hey!  Look!  I am still here!  I survive the storms of life and yet I stand strong!”  The shifting sands and the changing tides fill the gaps in my soul with hope that the gritty, salty stuff of life will not topple me but make me stronger.  I am still here and I stand tall because of the mercy and grace of God. 

Annie Dillard says it better about the gaps, the spaces between things: “The gaps are the thing.  The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound.  The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery.  Go into the gaps.  If you can find them; they shift and vanish too.  Stalk the gaps.  Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe.”

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