It is winter well and good here in Surfside Beach, though spring is not far away. The dunes have gone rustic and withered. Shorebirds limit their activity and gather in large groups of one-legged figurines, beaks into the wind. The sea oats have been stripped bare and are nodding sleepily at the calm water in cold offshore breezes. The beach is visited by scant vacationers.
This 2019-2020 winter has been mild thus far. A fistful of blue northers dropping temps from 70s to 30s but no freezing nights. No ice or snow (though snow is a rarity here anyway). No long stretches of mind-numbing cold. My Raynaud’s Syndrome has been mostly quiescent – a sure sign of a mild winter.
Fog season has begun, if haltingly. On still days when the north winds fall away and the Gulf Stream dominates the climate, the mix of cold earth and warm air swaddles the island in these ground clouds. It is beautiful if damp – the house becomes soaked with the saturated air and the steady drip drip drip from eaves and siding onto decking and the earth below is as peaceful and persistent as a gentle rain.
As beautiful as it all is, truly warm days seem light years away. The brightness and clatter of high season is only three months in the future at most, but this cold, foggy obfuscation can give the sense of slowing down time and clogging the mind. The occasional, mournful foghorn of a cargo ship heading out to sea is brief disruption and relief.
Sometimes this time of year feels unchanging, as if the sun won’t ever burn his way through that thick water vapor again. But it does change. One merely needs to accept and enjoy the days dripping by and be patient. Soon all that fog that has watered the dunes like tears will have set them up to burst open with color and joy again.