There is perhaps a fine line between gloating and gratitude. I trust that I shall be excused my indulgence and permitted to dilate upon the current invigorating circumstances. After another day under the cerulean sky, cycling on the beach and basking in the sun by the pool, I am driven to capture the elation which attends. It is unquestionable in my estimation that never have I had so frequent a cause to rejoice as I have had during our stay on Hilton Head Island for the past four months. As we pass the demarcation of our final month here for the winter, we have moved into a period of noticeable transition. The Island has begun to proliferate in every sense of the word, blooming flowers, burgeoning crowds and rising temperatures. A couple of days ago was the advent of Daylight Savings Time; the hours of sunshine have commensurately widened. And the prolongation of red and pink in the evening sky before sunset is a treasure to behold.
As much as I am mad for sunshine, I am astute enough to acknowledge that people of my age should not expose themselves indiscriminately. As a result, I wore my Polo shirt as usual while bicycling on the beach today in spite of the 79℉ temperature; and I was therefore grateful for the cooling wind from the south at 23 km/hr.
I had difficulty resisting the temptation of bicycling on the beach today notwithstanding that the tide was rising until 1:38 p.m. The paths on the mainland are smooth but they do not come anywhere near the exhilaration of cycling next to the crashing waves on the beach. When I ventured to enter the beach at Tower Beach I discovered that it would be impossible to navigate the beach at that juncture. The water had risen too high. The beach loungers were pressed almost to the dunes.
Accordingly I retraced my route to the bike path and headed instead to Beach Club where - about an hour later - I discovered that the tide had receded barely enough to accommodate a narrow path along the shore for cycling.
The course northward to Coligny Park was a breezy one thanks to the wind from the south. I suspect we're in the season approaching a full moon because apparently the gravitational pull upon the receding waters was sufficiently strong to afford dry sand for cycling. When I reached Coligny Park there was an explosion of beach activity, no doubt partly a product of the current March Break for students.
I ritually stop at Coligny Park in spite of the crowds because it is a "rest stop" and because it offers free WiFi service so I can check my email and the tide chart. I confess I am animated by the crowds. In spite of the vast difference of appearances, everyone is intent upon the same project of absorbing the sun and hearing the sound of the Ocean. Young jocks and their girlfriends frequently carry coolers of food and drinks to the beach. Older people sit upon the swinging wooden benches and gawk at the endless traffic of beachgoers. There are people of every colour and race. There were a number of people who were playing and swimming in the Ocean as well. The younger children contented themselves with frolicking in the "water park".
The difference in activity between now and a month ago is astonishing. There is oddly a sense that foreigners have invaded our territory. We had a hint of this expected transformation two years ago when returning from Fort Lauderdale in July. We ventured onto Hilton Head Island to consummate our subsequent winter visit here. It was almost impossible to find a hotel room on the Island for the night even with the assistance of the good people at the Marriott Hotel in Palmetto Dunes. On the average the hotel rooms were going for $450 per night. The room we eventually got for the night was at a less than 5-star establishment though the price was still close to $200. I don't think we even dined out that night, but simply went to bed early and left early the next morning. The inescapable conclusion was that the Island was overwhelmed with people at that time. We don't anticipate that the crowds will become as thick within the next month before we leave the Island on April 16th but there is no doubt that things will only become more congested. Yesterday for example was a St. Patrick's Day parade on Pope Avenue. I mistakenly made the decision to go to Harris Teeter to pick up a few things for my Caesar salad for dinner and ended being trapped in gridlock in the parking lot for over an hour.
I concluded my delightful ride on the beach by plopping myself onto a chaise longue by the pool for an hour. The sun was incredibly warm. I drifted into sleep.