A Box of Crayons Would be Jealous

Message From The Director

Each day is born with a sunrise and ends in a sunset, the same way we open our eyes to see the light and feel the warmth even on a cold morning and close them to feel the darkness and peace of the end of the day. Then, if we are fortunate, many amazing things happen in between. 

I recently experienced one of those days. In fact, in about 12 hours I was blown away by the magic of Mother Nature. I was at Hunting Island prior to the re-opening of the campground after a frustrating year dealing with hurricanes Matthew and Irma. The park looked great and the campground was ready for the only missing ingredient to bring it back to life: campers! Whenever I get the opportunity to spend the night on the coast, I make a point to try to take in a sunset and a sunrise if possible. Believe it or not, the sunrise is the easier of the two as few meetings or commitments are made at sunrise. My goal on this particular trip was to catch a marsh sunset and an ocean sunrise. I did not know when I scheduled this meeting there was a super moon performing that same night! So, would it be possible to catch a sunset on the marsh boardwalk then dash back to the beach to be able to catch the moonrise over the Atlantic?  It was worth a try as the weather was going to be perfect for both the sunset and the moonrise and the moon was predicted to be well…super! 

As I made my way along the newly repaired marsh boardwalk, I could not help but notice how truly alive the marsh is.  The twice-daily ebb and flow of the tides greatly influences life in the marsh, with the view changing as often as the tides. The tide was out and the smell of pluff mud, that unique mixture often referred to as “the mother sauce of all things Lowcountry,” was awakening my senses just as a shorebird made its way towards the evening buffet. At the end of the boardwalk was the perfect spot to watch the sun set on a tidal creek and another day on the coast of Carolina. The sun’s rays danced off the water and time stood still if only for a few minutes, and the colors… oh my, Crayola crayons are surely inspired by sunsets. 

As the sun disappeared the temperature instantly dropped, my cue to head towards the beach in anticipation of the moon rising over the Atlantic.  I made it with time to spare, but I was not prepared for what I saw.  The moon rose from the Atlantic much like the sun would, but I have never felt as if I could touch the sun. This super moon seemed to be just within reach as it lit up the night sky and shined a magic light across the ocean, dancing off the rolling waves. Awestruck by its magical magnetism, I watched as this super moon rose over the horizon casting shadows, light and colors of mystic blacks, blues and whites that nature surely only shows during special occasions.  I sat on a picnic table under the watchful eye of the lighthouse and absorbed as much of this unique display as I could. Sunrise would come in a few hours. 

Dawn and the promise of a new day came slowly as the sky started to wake with shades of pale grey and white. I, too, was slow to wake.  Then, as if someone poured a container of paint, the sky turned red- anxious to announce the arrival of the sun. I watched with others and observed the sky constantly turning all the colors of the rainbow and quickly taking on a supporting role as soon as the sun peaked over the Atlantic. The colors of the sunrise were quickly absorbed into the bright orange and yellow of the rising sun. A new day had arrived. 

I had just experienced three amazing displays of nature in about 12 hours. It’s hard to explain this 12 hours and give it justice. My advice, if you want to see the colors of the rainbow and the inspiration of a Crayola crayon box… put it on your state park bucket list this year. Catch a sunset then a moonrise and top it off with an amazing sunrise. You won’t be disappointed. 

See you in the parks!