strand

The sandy stretch that lies between the lapping waves of an ocean and the grasses of the dunes, where sunbathers lounge and children build sand castles, is known as the strand. But the term has also been applied indiscriminately to different features of inland and coastal beaches: the narrow strip that lies between the high and low tide lines, the sandy spits and crescents sometimes found along lakes and rivers, even the entire width and length of barrier islands. The sixty-mile stretch of coast between Little River and Georgetown, South Carolina, is known locally as the Grand Strand. In Florida, the term takes on a completely different meaning. There a strand is a depression in karst or limestone terrain, caused by a fault or an underground stream. The cypress strands of south Florida are among the most haunting of landscapes.

Jan DeBlieu

Tidal marshes have simply disappeared, “jerseyfication”— wind and water erosion caused by building on the duneline— has drastically diminished the Grand Strand—the long, unbroken beach that stretches from North Carolina to Winyah Bay.

— Franklin Burroughs, The River Home

More from Jan DeBlieu

» see all 22

Related entries