Beach Dances: If you have an image in your mind of a favorite trip to the beach then stop reading for ten seconds and think about it. Can you see the beach? Can you feel the sand between your toes, the salt wind against your face, the water cooling your skin after staying in the sun a few minutes, or hours, longer than you needed too? Does your beach memory include a bright moon, your puppies enjoying the sand, or your young child's first beach trip?

Do you feel better? Like you just had a ten second break from the day?

Many of us have a cherished beach memory and the book Folly Beach Dances - The Infinite Rhythms of a South Carolina Seashore translates these memories into a form of healing with heart. The book, a labor of love by Sheree K. & Russell A. Nielsen, features amazing photography of life on the beach with reflections by Sheree and award winning women Authors. The book, according to Sheree, was born out a trip to the doctor for a knee injury while at the same time having the feeling that something was "off."

 That something, that feeling of being "off," was soon diagnosed as something besides just feeling "weird, frustrated, and weepy." Sheree was told by her doctor that she had low-grade lymphoma.

Taking the Beach Road

We've all heard the saying "take the high road." Well, Sheree took her own version of the high road by way of the sand covered trail to the beach. The author and photographer says she grew up listening to her father, a NAVY man, tell stories about his travels to other lands while in the service. The stories helped cement her love for the sand and ocean waves. In a sense they held healing properties.

Sheree and Russell share a passion for the beach, photography and scuba diving. When Sheree was faced with the challenge of lymphoma, it was only natural the beach was a place where she would turn. That love for something that gave her comfort and strength turned into the book Folly Beach Dances.

"Folly Beach Dances is a 'healing' coffee table book about Folly Beach, South Carolina," Sheree told me when we first talked about the book. "As a lymphoma survivor, my mission for the book changed from being about more than beautiful photography and poetry. It's also about taking care of yourself and staying positive on the challenge of not only healing and getting well but also growing."

Short on Words - Long on Meaning

Folly Beach Dances is by definition a picture book. But, it's much more. Yes: there are beautiful pictures that will ignite memories of beach trips in anyone that has an appreciation for salt water and sea shells. The pages are filled with images that are worth enjoying them simply as nice pictures. What's different is the text that goes along with the images.

Text is not used to describe a picture or event. The words are simply a starting point for readers to use as a type of healing version of a brainstorming session. The words, by Sheree and noted women authors and writers, are not pushy, overbearing, or preachy. Instead the text in the book is just... simple. Not too deep, not too lite on insight, and certainly not cliche. To steal from the children's bedtime story - "just right."

In a way, Folly Beach Dances, is a step above your traditional inspirational book.

Favorite Image and Text

I could not write this article without letting readers know about a couple of favorite things of mine that I found in Folly Beach Dances. The first thing that made me stop, as I quickly flipped through the book when I first picked it up, is an image of three pups laying in the sand during a trip to the beach.

I think this picture and accompanying text is a perfect example of what the book will mean to different people. I have a Golden named Big Mo that I consider my best puppy buddy. He's older now and I cherish our trips to the beach. He used to dive head first into the ocean water. Now he sits by my side snoring under the umbrella with a bowl of ice and water a paw away. He helps me think through my problems.

We are a three-dog one child family and many times our vacation plans are based on where the pups can go or who will baby sit! We have several memories of our pups cooling off in the sand during a day at the beach chasing sea-gulls.

The text is by Pat Wahler and is titled Circle Dog Dance. "Bodies melt and time dissolves near seaside-nurtured spa / where best friends daydream side by side in perfect pas de trios."

Another favorite is a young man on a skim board. Instant memories of our young son, now Army Strong, on the beach learning how to surf. That memory now includes a recent father son trip to visit historic battleships including the USS Alabama... and of course a few trips to the beach. Another page includes a dune fence that looks exactly like a path my wife and I have traveled a hundred times or more at our beach hideaway in search of solitude and salty beach breezes. There is something for everyone.

A Close Connection

I can connect with the book Folly Beach Dreams for a couple of reasons. First, my wife's sisters have both had health issues. One is a two time cancer survivor. In addition, my father has experienced several health issues over the years. I've had some traumatic experiences over the years myself. In all instances, the healing powers of salt water and sand has come into play. That close connection to the beach is something that makes Folly Beach Dances - The Infinite Rhythms of a South Carolina Seashore well worth reading as well as placing on your coffee table.

Book Info

  • Website:
  • Authors: Sheree K. & Russell A. Nielsen
  • Hardcover - Picture book - four color
  • Images courtesy, and property of, the author/authors

A Bonus Pic

Just for fun I had to include this super fun image from Sheree's Folly Beach Dances blog. Talk about a wonderful promotional picture!




Category: Books
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