July 11, 2019
This column has been in the works for a long time (as many that I have partially written) It seemed like a good time to finish it.
February….today was a heat wave, 20. Cars were lined up as far as the eye could see at the car wash. As we scramble to wash before the next freeze hits.
I took to daydreaming about the beach. The place where I get centered, where I regain my strength and focus, where I chill and bask in the warm sunshine. A place I am missing. The place that calls to me. Especially in the freezing cold winter or the dog days of summer.
There is nothing like the excitement in knowing I get to spend a week at the beach, with no agenda, no schedule, no requirements, just relaxation.
It’s a love affair that has been going for quite sometime, actually from the first time I saw the ocean and it’s vast wonder. I was in love, completely and totally. As the years go by it remains intact. The laid back life, the ease of beach living.
It always reminds me of the movie “Same Time Next Year” I return to visit but because I do not live there. A quaint beach town never loses the shiny charm of something new. I change and age like Ellen Burstyn in the movie, but the ocean remains constant. And I am hopelessly in love.
Maybe its the feel of cool sand under my feet after a rain, or the constant ocean breeze but I never get tired of the beach. I feel a sense of contentment, I cannot find anywhere else, at least not yet.
As I drive the 15 or so hour drive ( yes, we Midwesterners LOVE to drive anywhere) I begin the journey full of happiness and excitement, I am going to visit an old friend. I have a mission. I have made the journey many times but the first time alone was milestone. It was about strength, independence and new beginnings. It was just me and my dog Jessup. I remember it like it was yesterday. Driving through a torrential downpour in Peoria in my little Honda Civic and thinking I am not stopping just power through the rain. We could barely see it was coming down so hard.
We powered on. We spent the night at a hotel that was to say the least sketchy. I had made no plans and rolled the dice weighing on the chance I would stumble upon a dog friendly hotel when it was time to sleep. We found one and it was sketchy to say the least. It was ok, we survived and i pushed furniture against the door. Silly considering how overprotective my dog was, he would have eaten anyone who would have tried to enter uninvited.
The next morning our journey continued through the beautiful mountains and valleys of Tennesee, a tiny bit of North Carolina around Asheville and finally dropping into the beautiful South Carolina landscape. When you cross over it is nothing but green, a special South Carolina green. It feels like coming home. The trees are tall and stately with the wind passing through the smattering of leaves at the top, seemingly singing a song of welcome. As I look down that highway, my heart feels content. just a few more hours and I am seeing blue.
As we continued the downward path to the low country, the excitement builds. I drive past billboards that always make me laugh at the absurdity of some of them (perhaps the long drive has made things more funny!) As I approach Charleston it begins to rain. By this time I am on a two lane road as you get the closer to the coast the roads becomes narrower and everything seems like a winding country road. It is dark and I am unsure of the road and then the torrential downpour begins again (must have followed me from Illinois). So I turn on my flashers, emulating the car in front of me and proceed slowly through the deluge. Eventually I reach the bridge into Charleston ( that resembles our new bridge over the Mississippi somewhat) and just like that the rain stops.
I drive on following the instructions bellowing out of the map thingy on the dash and I go through Charleston and into the island community. I am heading for Folly Beach (a location that was chosen based on a book I had read just to see if it was real…it is.) as you cross the last bridge to Folly’s Beach you instantly relax and become a beach bum. It is a small little village dubbed “The Edge of America” as it sits furthest into the ocean on the eastern side of the US. It is a delight. I find my rental, park my car and get out with Jessup. I can smell the sea.
We make our short walk around the neighborhood, but the first thing we do is say hello to the sea. As I approach the sea and the scent gets stronger, my heart races. The first glimpse of the ocean is like no other. It never disappoints and seeing it from a new location is always fun! Jessup and I pass through on a small street that leads directly to the ocean. And there it is peeking between the hotel and the grocery store. A shiny silver glimpse against the dusk sky. Jessup and step onto the beach sliding our foot/paws into the cool sand. We walk a little further where the sand meets the ocean and we sit side by side.
We are home.
Until Next Time,