Swept to the Light, oil painting by Daniel Ambrose

Swept to the Light, oil painting by Daniel Ambrose

Saturday is winding down. An early moon is rising above the sea. A warm, salty breeze rustles the cabbage palms as if to notify me. The muse of Bulow summons.

The moon is just touching the horizon as I cruise along the shore, a ghostly drop of silver in a fading blue sky. Turning west I head into the hazy purple twilight towards the drawbridge. A forgotten savior, tales of smugglers running booze during prohibition in the dead of night. A vivid parade of figures flicker through my mind like bright minnows in the brackish water below. I’ll see ya’ll in the bye and bye. Back on earth on the other side, I coast into the marsh. The river keeps its secrets.

This marks the forty-eighth year I’ve been coming here. A journey that began as a child on Sunday drives with my family. Memories of sunshine, of blue crabs caught with chicken necks on string, and later as a teenager, reckless midnight rides with friends; the best ones, long gone. Old sorrows and wild laughter slow dance together in the swaying southern moss.

I pull over and park on the crushed shell, and shut off the engine. Study the dying light. Silence, then the gentle gurgling of tidal water ebbing over oyster beds induces a peaceful sigh. Suddenly the sky opens and a flood of amber light flows liquid-like over the land, like wildflower honey spilt from a mason jar.

I love this place. For most all of my life, I’ve come here for peace and inspiration.

But tonight, it feels small, and crowded with memories.

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