{Note: This is one time you'll want to click pictures to supersize them!
In this case, bigger is better!!}

Sand crab close-up, Kiawah Island, SC beach

The mecca of our family's summer pilgrimage is more than sand and sea…

It's where the wild things are.

The only high rises are Live Oaks older than your mama's mama's great-grandmama, their octopus branches a' tangle, verdant canopy dripping with Spanish moss (which has little to do with Spain). 
Angel Oak near Kiawah IslandEach one is home to a thousand creatures times ten, feathered or furry or the creepy kind that bore holes and feed the birds and make your skin crawl at first sight.  No matter that you're 100 times bigger, one Palmetto bug makes the macho man girly-squeal. In spite of the pretty name, it ain't nothin' but a crunchy-shelled cockroach needing a good stompin'.  I'll do the honors–we grow 'em gargantuan in the South.

Kiawah Island
… named for the natives who lived there first–did they comprehend the treasure they held?  It's a place that nourishes soul and expresses Creation as the delight of its Creator. He embodies each hand-stroked masterpiece–the fragile mystery of dollars in sand, relentless ocean thunder, dazzling skies in colors yet to be named.

I relish this beach.  It's deep and wide and and almost solitary.
I waver, wanting to tell the world about its beauty yet hold tight its secrets.  There are many.

Unexpected friends appear from no where and tickle my adventure senses. 
Deer on Kiawah Island dunesI'm speechless in their presence, holding my breath to hold hostage the moment. Sometimes it works if my steps are fairy-silent.
Deer buck at Kiawah    

Lofty, slothy, graceful or awkward, I stop and stare and they mirror my rudeness.  Or are they just as curious as me?
Heron at Kiawah Island  

Turtle at Kiawah Island  

"A day without laughter is like a day without sunshine," and at Kiawah, alligators = laughter.  I stalk these prehistoric beasts, and their find thrills me!  

Danger Alligator sign at Kiawah  
Big alligator close-up at Kiawah
Alligator swimming at Kiawah Island Bass Pond

While my spirit inhabits flesh, Kiawah Island is my heart's retreat, the place on earth I long for.  I want to share it with those I love and those who've not yet had the pleasure, and returning each year is a tradition I beg my children to savor.  Somehow, it speaks to eternity; I suppose because it's the most beautiful place I know, and God promises his side of death is better than anything we can imagine here.

Until I shed first skin, Kiawah will ever be my happiest place away from home.


Your turn:  Can you relate?  Do you have a "happy place"?  Please share why you love it.     

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