August 24th, 2009

When I lived on an island at the edge of America, I don’t think I appreciated it enough. Yes, I loved the funky, stoned lifestyle. I loved knowing everyone I ran into at the post office or the convenience cum wine store. I loved the feeling of being cut off from the world of ambition, striving, getting and spending. I loved taking a jug of Bloody Marys to the beach on Sundays and sharing gossip, drinks, sun and sand with my friends. I loved living in a tiny two-room apartment that came with a cat and a wacky, legally blind landlord who at one point drove around the southeast with a round table in a trailer that swirled people around to adjust their chakras, chi or something ch-ch-ch-ish. But I didn’t fully realize how magical that time was until it was over. Until a big hurricane blew down the hippie era rentals and ushered in the McMansions that insurance payments built. Until the doctors/lawyers/trust fund babies took over. Until the last old-school, gritty bar closed down and a child-friendly restaurant moved in. I could have stayed on, struggling to find rentals I could afford, but I didn’t. Now I live two miles away — inland, as a friend of mine who still lives there says with pity. It’s no longer the island I loved, and I’m not exactly the person who once lived there. But every now and then, sitting on a dock in the evening with palmetto trees against the darkening sky, hearing the chink-chink of sailboat rigging in a breeze, it all rushes back like the tide. And it reminds me that sometimes we have to release the things we love in order to hold onto them forever.

5 Responses to “Homesickness”

  1. m. heart says:

    I'm doing a lot of that lately too.

  2. V-Grrrl at Compost Studios says:

    It is the leaving that makes the memory sweet.

  3. angie says:

    A beautiful, bittersweet truth.

  4. Southern Girl says:

    I was supposed to spend just two days in Charleston right after the Harbor Fest this year. I kept adding another day, one by one, to my "vacation" there, until my husband asked me if I was ever coming home to Atlanta. It was so hard to leave–I even rode a rickshaw over to the public library to get an application. :)If I could just…just…live here, I thought. Your post reminded me of two great quotes: "It's never safe to be nostalgic about something until you're absolutely certain there's no chance of it coming back." 🙂 And "Exultation is the going of an inland soul to sea." — E.D. Glad I found your blog!

  5. Sandy says:

    Living West Ashley now, but I go back to the pier often and dream of the days growing up there.Nothing like being a child on Folly in the late 60s/early 70s