The very first time I came to South Carolina, it was way back in the mid 80's. I worked for a family who had a house north of Myrtle Beach, and we went there often. I grew up visiting the gulf coast with crystal clear water and white powdery sand, and loved it. We spent many a spring break and summer vacation snorkeling, body surfing, crabbing and playing in the clear lagoons. So you can imagine my dismay when I saw the dingy sand and muddy water of the Atlantic for the very first time. My remark to them was, " You guys call THIS a beach???".
Fast forward to the next time I came to the Atlantic, in February of 2013 to Charleston SC for an extended weekend. It was cold but sunny, and the huge azaleas were already blooming everywhere. We visited Beka's favorite hunting spot for shark's teeth, went to the pier, took my 3-legged foster dog Rocket to the beach (he LOVED it!), and ate some great seafood. It was 3 days of laughing and reconnecting one of her best friends with my daughter, and we all enjoyed it. On the drive home, something kept nagging at me, in a good way. I couldn't explain it, but I felt different. I went back to GA and just shook it off, and eventually things were back to normal. Then in March, the need arose for me to move to be closer to Beka. I am fortunate enough to work from home, so that wasn't an issue. I went down to Charleston, found a place to rent, and went home to get ready. Those were the longest 3 weeks of all. I couldn't wait to get back. I was excited about the change (having only ever lived out of the state of GA for 3 of my 49 years of life at that point. The pull I felt to be here was so strong. I settled into my new home in no time, and never have I felt at home in a new city so quickly. I loved it from the very first second. And this was even before I knew about all of the untold beauty to explore, the nature preserves, and multitude of festivals held every year.
I had found it. Love. The love I have for the ocean, it's power to soothe me even on my darkest of days. I love to drive over the huge suspension bridge when it's warm enough to have all the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs as I marvel at how fortunate I am to live amongst such beauty. I now love the smell of the pluff mud at low tide, so much so that when I come home from being out of town, I roll down my windows (not matter the temperature) to inhale the smell until my lungs are so full they ache. I love that in just a short drive, I can be in the "country" among horses, ducks, geese, pigs and friends with like minds that see the value in being a voice for the voiceless. I love just sitting on the beach, and watching families enjoy it, and feeling so blessed that even though I FEEL like I am on vacation, I am not going to have to pack up and leave at the end of the week like a lot of them. I love that pretty much anywhere I go, I have to drive over a bridge, and almost always see boats and people enjoying the beauty of this place. I love all the farmer's markets and wonderful produce from early in the season to late in the fall. I love all the people I've met, be it through dog rescue, horse rescue, photography, support groups, or just on the street or beach; each one has touched my life and enriched it in ways I never could have seen. I love that I can wear flip flops almost all year long, and do! The sounds of the owl in my backyard at night, the bats diving at the dogs, the fireworks during baseball season from the River Dogs games, and the church bells of the churches near me-that are all like homing beacons to me.
I may fall out of love with my low country paradise, but I know when and if that time comes, I will love whatever new adventure life brings me. The point of this is-everyone needs to fall in love this way. People should squeeze very ounce of life out of every second they have. We only get a certain number of trips around the beautiful sun, make the most of it. Make the most of the relationships you have, and grab hold of life. I wish when I was in my 20's, someone had told me this then, I might have listened, I might not. But knowing what I know now, I hope someone listens to me.
Love you all~
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