An ancient Celtic tradition describes three feet that separate heaven and Earth, except for in those rare and special places where the boundary shrinks and narrows and almost vanishes.
These are the world's "thin places," where the three feet between known and unknown, creation and creator, mundane and grand shrivel to the porous mesh of the thinnest veil.
Often, these are quiet places, or undisturbed ones, where humanity feels small against the vast majesty of the natural world. They tend to exist where we feel alone yet infinitely connected to each other. And something more.
Where is the most spiritual Lowcountry place for you?
We put that question to The Post and Courier's Facebook and Twitter followers and other readers who responded with descriptions of their own thin places, many of them renowned local wonders, others quiet gems.
To be sure, the Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey thank the Lord for the serene beauty of their home along the Cooper River banks. Many of our readers do, too.
And those who have fought to preserve the ancient, gnarled arms of the Angel Oak will nod in agreement that this jewel also ranked high in most spiritual places.
Then again, how could such a list forgo our vast Atlantic-fed beaches or the swaying dance of spartina grass across our tide-fed marshes? They, too, topped the list.
Others named historic thin places between the life, suffering, death and joy of our joint yesterdays and tomorrows.
As author Charles Powell described the slave cabins at Boone Hall: "You stand in there at dusk with just the sounds of nature and feel the pain, the hope, the weight of history."
Many locals also shared their favorite, most personal and most beautiful photographs of their thin places. We'll share a few here for you.
We'll also share a few of the most thought-provoking responses below.
The marsh, especially at dawn and dusk. The word "spirit" comes from the Latin word for "breath." The beautiful and vital wetlands are the lungs of the ocean: breathing in at the flow, cleansing and then breathing out at the ebb. Likewise, when I view the marsh, I, too, breath in, cleanse my soul and then breath out. Doing so, I am awash with gratitude.
Wendy Anderson Davis
Edisto Beach is the most spiritual place for me personally. I feel so at peace and so close to God when I am there looking at the beautiful sky and ocean.
Listening to the seagulls and feeling the sun shining down on me ... it always brings me so close to tears just knowing that He created something so special just for all of us!
The Sewee Shell rings in Awendaw! These rings/mounds were used by Indians for ceremonial purposes thousands of years ago, and the area is totally serene overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
For me, it is the hospice inpatient center in Mount Pleasant. I know most people would question my choice, but as a chaplain here, I see many amazing things. It is a very spiritual time to be invited by the families to watch a person's spirit move from this life into life eternal.
Charles Towne Landing has always been a spiritual place for me. I'm not sure exactly what it is - the easy confluence of nature and history, maybe - but I always feel like I'm walking with God when I'm there. I typically walk off the main path ("the road less traveled" ... Robert Frost would approve), and it helps me regain emotional equilibrium in a world that is just too busy sometimes.
Wandering around there, even something as simple as watching the alligators becomes a meditative moment for me. I realize that in all the years they've roamed the Earth, they've never been domesticated, never evolved into something higher. They just eat, sleep and lie on the bank sunning themselves as the spirit moves them. I believe they're a model for being what God made you to be and being happy in it. And something about that calms me.
Of course, there are also the labyrinths at the St. Francis meditation garden and at Mepkin Abbey to help get one centered. It's such an experience to walk one that I built a labyrinth in my backyard.
My mom was here visiting over Mother's Day weekend and I took her out to Beachwalker (Park) on Kiawah. At one point, she walked down to the water line and just stood there taking it all in - watching her do this brought tears to my eyes. I realized I got this appreciation from her. That feeling of being a small being in a large world but still very much part of it.
The water, the sand, the tides: They all work together and for me as an individual to witness it is just so soul lifting. I don't know how else to describe it.
So, I guess it isn't so much the place as it is the fact it brings family, grace and spirituality all together for me no matter which strip of sand I find myself on at the time.
Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563, follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes or subscribe to her at facebook.com/jennifer.b.hawes.
Rebeccah Williams Connelly×
“Magnolia with all her light and life.” — Meg John, pictured at left with Justin Falk×
“Charles Towne Landing has always been a spiritual place for me. I’m not sure exactly what it is — the easy confluence of nature and history, maybe — but I always feel like I’m walking with God when I’m there. I typically walk off the main path (“the road less traveled” ... Robert Frost would approve), and it helps me regain emotional equilibrium in a world that is just too busy sometimes.” — author Shelia Watson×
“Chapel at Palmetto Bluff overlooking the river, palmetto trees, etc. Any place close to nature is spiritual to me. I love the outdoors and seeing our earth as it was meant to be.” — Sarah Malphrus×
“The water, the sand, the tides: They all work together and for me as an individual to witness it is just so soul lifting. I don’t know how else to describe it. So, I guess it isn’t so much the place as it is the fact it brings family, grace and spirituality all together for me no matter which strip of sand I find myself on at the time.” — Kim Rich×
“He looked back toward us again, and noticed that the sun was illuminating the clouds overhead with bright vivid colors — pink, orange, red, blue — and he stood up and began to dance and spin in circles, just soaking it all in. We were both speechless. It was, in a word, spiritual.” — Michael Trotman on watching his grandson, Oliver Stenhouse×
“He woke up early one Saturday morning in October, so we took him out to the beach to let him witness his first sunrise. We took him by the hand and walked him out to the beach and let him play by the surf. When he first noticed the sun, he turned to us to see if we were watching. Then he sat down and turned back toward the sun, mesmerized.” — Michael Trotman on watching his grandson, Oliver Stenhouse×
“To me, it signifies survival against odds. I can feel the spirits of the ships that craved to see that light. I feel at peace there.” — Heather Fernie on the Morris Island Lighthouse×
“Chapel at Palmetto Bluff (in Beaufort County) overlooking the river, palmetto trees, etc. Any place close to nature is spiritual to me. I love the outdoors and seeing our earth as it was meant to be.” — Sarah Malphrus×