I am fortunate to live in a little corner of the world where uninhabited islands are all around us. The waterways and our fellow seafarers are our own little microcosm of society- with secret passages throughout the greater expanse that no road can take you to by car. Each time we venture out on our tiny boat, we see dolphins playing- mother and child, sometimes whole pods. This is a sight that will never become stale for me. I am as equally excited the billionth time I’ve seen a dolphin as I was the very first time.
We meet new people each time we go out and sometimes are pleasantly surprised to arrive at a little sand bar where other boats are anchored to find neighbors and long lost friends. These spontaneous social events are filled with children swimming in waist high water, beer, fried chicken, boiled peanuts, pluff mud in your toes and laughter all around you. It is one of my greatest hopes that my children will look back on these days as some of their happiest childhood memories. That no matter where they live, when they return to the lowcountry and smell the salt air, the scent of pluff mud, see the leagues of waist high marsh grass… they will be taken back to these wonderful slow days.
The summer stretches on here much longer than other places and so we get to enjoy these impromptu get-togethers with complete strangers deep into what others might consider autumn. We only purchased our boat this year and I already believe it to be one of the best and most valuable purchases of my life. The price we paid could never equal the joy it has brought to my life. Each time we venture out on to the water, it as if time stands still for just a little while. I have my husband and children by my side marveling with them at the wonders that surround us. Undisturbed by the glowing screens that have tied our world in knots…. social media, the web, tv, video games, and the like, these fleeting moments are pure and unmatchable joy.
Water has invariably been a magical element to me- a metaphor for how I feel and view my own life. The tide flows in and out much like my emotions go from highs to lows. Sometimes it moves slow as if considering each move and sometimes it races forward pulling everything with it in its wake. In summer it is so warm and welcoming, we say its like bath water, you pleasantly bob around enveloped and nurtured. And in winter its so cold that you fear touching it at all as it may bite you as swiftly as an ill tempered dog.
There are times I am filled with overwhelming regret at not leaving this area earlier in my life. I wonder what might have been had I chosen a different path. But, the water calms me and reminds me that the path is not where I should be, but on a river, in a harbor, on a creek….slowly and deliberately appreciating each moment of my life and letting the water guide me.