Southern transplant that I am, the unseasonable beauty of this place never pales for me. Even the front that blew through yesterday and dropped us twenty degrees (but dropped feet of snow everywhere else it seems) couldn’t dampen my winter spirits because the day started with a dolphin sighting. Dozens of them actually, so giddy with fish flowing into the river from the marsh-draining creeks that it looked like they were turning cartwheels just below the surface.
I always start my morning walk with a detour down to the Pigeon Point boat landing to look for dolphins. I’m not burning any calories this way, I know, but I make up for the pause by stretching while I scan the Beaufort River. I’m not the yoga-affirmation type, but when the dorsal fin of a bottlenose dolphin breaks the surface I know that it’s more than a privilege to live here.
Dolphins, especially on a winter morning, remind me I can’t possibly complain about anything the entire day when I am so lucky as to live here. I wrote about how I came to trust in the luck of dolphin spotting in one of the first chapters of the memoir I’m writing. I’ll set the scene: It’s 1990 and I’m looking for buried South Carolina dispensary bottles on a sandbar not far from Pigeon Point landing, with my boyfriend at-the-time.
“Look, dolphins!” I called out to him.
He looked up from the pile of mud and shells at his feet.
“You know what that means, don’t you?” he asked. “Every time you see a dolphin, it means you’re going to have a perfect day.”
“But what if the day’s already over?”
He paused, bringing a mud-covered hand to his chin. “I never thought about it but I guess it works retroactively. Didn’t we have a perfect day?”
It was the logic of the hopeful, the rationale of a dreamer and I have judged the perfection of a day by dolphin hindsight ever since.