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Shrine of Nature

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Two pairs of Adirondack chairs nestle behind the new shoots of sea oats that push up from the dune at the southern tip of Litchfield Beach. It's a place where all sorts of things that float eventually come to rest, even memories.

The chairs were pulled from the ocean in December. They face southeast across Midway Inlet, just where the fragile dune stretches a cautious toe toward the edge of the water. Early in the morning, footprints across the tide-swept sand testify to the popularity of this quiet spot.

In April, a notebook placed in a plastic bag gave visitors a chance to record their thoughts. Its pages filled up over the following weeks with private thoughts and meditations that people were eager to confide with those who shared their love for the beach.

"This is hands-down the most beautiful and special spot in the whole world to me," wrote a woman who became engaged at the point two years earlier.

One couple found the chairs while celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at the place where they spent their honeymoon.

It is also a place of solace.

"Being here is the only peace I have felt in months," explained a man who recounted a series of divorces, illnesses and deaths.

In an entry on Mothers Day, a man said the spot made him feel close to his mother, who died in 1994.

On Memorial Day, a man wrote of his uncle who "paid the ultimate blood sacrifice on a small island in the South Pacific during WWII."

Entries often sound like a guestbook: "We have been coming to this beach and this point for 18 yrs. We thought it could not get better. It has." "We call this point our Paradise."

They aren't all serious.

Two friends wrote they paddled over by kayak after smoking "a bit of marijuana." They crossed out "bit" and changed it to "lot."

"We're locals of Pawleys, and this is one of the coolest places we have ever found," they added.

"This is a hell of a lot better than the Bronx," said one brief entry.

The notebook filled up, then it disappeared.

Odile Postic, a Litchfield resident, visits the point two or three times a week on walks looking for sea turtle nests. She watched the spot evolve from winter to spring into what one of her grandchildren called a "shrine of nature" in one of the notebook entries.

The disappearance of the notebook adds its own charm to the spot. "It's a big mystery," Postic said. "And I think it should remain so."

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