It was a rainy June morning in the lowcountry. The soft rays of dawn were obscured by thick clouds the shades of blue and gray. They hung low with a mist that hovered over land and sea like a down blanket. From the harbor the sonorous foghorn of a towering cargo ship bellowed as the behemoth lumbered out to the open seas. The pungent, amniotic scent of the wetlands hung heavy in the air.

These were the magic hours for the lowcountry wildlife. Before the humans descended to the meandering creeks and racing rivers with their roaring boats and prying eyes. The tide was low and the mudflats presented a bountiful feast for the birds. Higher in the sky the great ospreys soared over the water searching with their binocular vision for a fish to bring home to the fledglings waiting in the nests.

In the Cove, all was serene. Not a paddleboard in sight. A dolphin swam at a leisurely pace against the current, arching gracefully, its silvery gray skin camouflaged by the steely color of the water. The dolphin journeyed to a particular dock she knew well. She could hear the rhythmic bumping of the lower dock against the wood pilings as it rose and fell with the waves. The dolphin’s dark almond eyes searched the dock, circled again, and seeing no one, released a loud and plaintive whistle. A high-pitched, beckoning contact call for one particular human. A tall female with long dark hair and eyes the color of the skies on a cloudless day.

But no one answered the whistle. The house was quiet. Void of sound. The dolphin did not sense any human presence in the great house beyond. Still, she whistled once more, then waited.

A small calf, fragile and tender, nudged its mother. The dolphin knew she could stay no longer. The woman would not come again. Nor would the dolphin. Without another whistle or click, the dolphin turned and with one effortless sweep of her tail headed back up the creek, farther away from the dock and the tall woman, the memory of whom was already beginning to fade. As the dolphin swam, she scanned the water, alert, all her senses, her whole being, focused on the safety of her calf. At her side the newborn calf was attuned to its mother, already learning the dolphin ways. Together they swam deeper into the mysterious waters of the Cove in a fluid lowcountry ballet. A graceful celebration of the beauty of all things wild.

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Tags: Mary Alice Monroe Lowcountry Summer Romance
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