You know how when you get home after being away for several days? You might think, ‘Gee, it’s good to be home.’ Yeah, well, I’m still waiting for that feeling.
“Relaxed” isn’t exactly my middle name, so when Jim suggested we go to the beach because he wanted to relax, I said I probably wouldn’t like that. I need to be busy to have fun. Hiking, sightseeing, shopping, going to a play. THAT’S fun. Sitting around doing nothing? Capital B boring.
Then I saw the ocean from the balcony of our 12th floor hotel room at North Myrtle Beach and I didn’t care if I did anything else all week but sit and stare at the ocean.
Of course I didn’t lose all my uptightness, at least not at first. There was the lesson of the wake versus the break. Jim was a bobbing in the wake while I stayed closer to shore where the waves were breaking. When a wave knocked me to my knees and handed me a mouthful of salt water, Jim told me to come out to where he was. I was afraid at first, but he showed me how to let the wake pick you up and put you down, and I thought how what is true in the ocean is true in life. Sometimes you have to go beyond your comfort zone to find peace/the answers/fill-in-your-own-truth.
I spent a lot of time under an umbrella by the dunes, too. Butterflies and dragonflies alighted on the tangled myrtle, and a Carolina anole stopped long enough for me to snap a photo before scurrying off into the underbrush.
Saw my first alligator in the wild.
We didn’t lie around the beach all the time. We did take a tour of the area, which included a visit to an All Saints Cemetery, complete with the ghost story of Alice Flagg, whose brother forbid her to marry outside her social class. She died of either consumption or malaria when she was 16, and when her brother found the engagement ring she wore tied to a ribbon around her neck, he ripped it off her and threw it in the marsh. She was originally buried on their estate, but she haunted her brother and so he had her moved to All Saints Cemetery, where she is said to appear wandering, looking for her ring.
I was fascinated yet creeped out by a lubber grasshopper at the cemetery. He was at least 5 inches long.
I took this photo of two women sitting at the pool while I was eating breakfast. They were having fun laughing together. I sent the photo to my friend Pam and told her this would be us one day.
I didn’t eat this, but Jim wishes he had. I ate some amazing food, including (don’t laugh) a pecan waffle at Waffle House. I’d never eaten there before.
The characters in my novel needed a vacation, too, because when I sat down to write (under that umbrella I told you about earlier), they had a LOT to say. I hope someday the people reading on the beach or poolside are reading my novel. Or maybe I will put a copy in their hands next time I’m there.
I let my hair go native.
We took the back roads all the way to Myrtle and most of the way back. Talk about relaxing, even behind slow traffic on a two-lane highway. We saw some amazing landscapes, including the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course I had to play “Country Roads” on our way through West Virginia.
So as I wait for that “good to be home” feeling to ascend, thank you for letting me share my vacation with you. Please post a comment and let me know about your vacation epiphanies.