Posted on | July 5, 2012 | 2 Comments
Last Thursday, I picked J up early from school and we drove to Columbia, South Carolina. We pulled ourselves from bed early Friday morning and drove the last few hours to the beach I’ve called my second home since 1981, when my parents rented a condo the week that Tropical Storm Dennis came through North Carolina.
I remember that week only vaguely, as I was only three years old. The memories come in quick, technicolor flashes: Running on the beach with my mother as the hard rains pelted off our skin and my sister yelled over the winds that it felt like popcorn pinging off of our arms and faces; hovering on the landing outside the condo, cold and wet, and watching my father try to take the hinges off the door because we’d locked ourselves out.
Two years later, my grandfather bought a house here, a small blue house with a roof that gathered in a square sunlight that made us, at five and seven, giggle and call it Pizza Hut. The walk to the beach took patience, winding through a neighbor’s yard and down a long covered path. Several years later Papa traded up, buying a house closer to the ocean with a little less character and a lot more room. The house had a white wrought iron staircase that lead up to a loft that jutted out over the family room where my sister and I would hide away with library books and plot who would rule our magical worlds.
And then in 1995, he bought the deed to the porch where I now sit, flanking the front of our two story house that looks out over the street between here and the horizon. With less than one hundred steps, I can get down the front steps and to the beach, a process that takes less than five minutes, when I’m not holding the hand of a certain slow moving toddler.
To say that I love it here doesn’t seem to do it justice
Some of my greatest loves and greatest heartaches are wound and circled in the curving weathered wood of this old porch. Some of the hardest times of my life have happened right here; most of the greatest people I’ve known in my life have walked beside, in front, or behind me across the sands that roll in and out with the tides. I have stood on this porch and wondered, pondered, laughed and cried. I have waded, fully dressed, into this ocean and screamed at the sky, wondering why and how and why again. This island holds the secrets to my soul… the secret pockets and locked away pieces that I hide away from common eyes, yet roll between my fingers like prayer beads
This is where I am most at peace, most at rest, most at one with the me that I am, the me that I used to be, and the me I still hope I can become.
Tomorrow we tuck our lives back into the trunk of my car and we will say goodbye, again, to the never yet ever changing sweep of sand that will always be my heart’s match and my soul’s home.