You know how Dorthy clicks her heels, closes her eyes, and says “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” in the movie The Wizard of Oz? Well, she means it, there truly is no place on earth like home. And of course, we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, and I really didn’t know what home meant to me until I moved away to Tennessee. I was born and raised in coastal Carolina and had the great pleasure of visiting the beach any time I felt the urge. In high school, my friends and I would skip school to pay a visit to the ocean for the day. In college, I lived 7 miles from the beach and would go nearly everyday after class. What a pleasure it was!
After my husband and I got married (near the beach), we moved to Nashville to chase our dreams, spent our winter enjoying the perks of Tennessee and then our first land-locked summer rolled around. We didn’t know what to do! There was no sand and no sea to occupy our time and we realized that we missed what we had so badly. There is a certain culture that comes with living in a beach community and that is what we miss the most.
Since then, we have found wonderful things to occupy our time in the summer but it fills our hearts with so much joy each time we have the chance to go home. This was exactly the situation last week and it was quite perfect.
We grew up going to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Across the sound is the small seaside town of Beaufort. It is filled with sweet, salty people with leathery skin, local restaurants that serve the freshest seafood with a side of everything fried, and so much history. I never realized its true beauty until recently and let me tell you, it’s special. Most of the local homes are white in color and full of character and charm. Residents ride their bikes down to the main street for an afternoon drink or to say “hi” to the man who runs the general store.
Just off its shore are a few un-inhabited islands. During our recently stay, we took a quick boat trip to Shackleford Island where wild horses roam and graze, and the large number of sand dollars that wash up on the shore just seem unreal. I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like a storybook. While it has been included in books written by Nicholas Sparks and countless others, it’s not. It’s real life. We spent the day in waste-high, crystal clear waters searching for the best seashells we could find, taking in the view, breathing in the salty air and letting the wind whip our hair into impossible tangles.
Wiley grew up surfing and probably misses the ability to sit in the ocean on his board waiting for waves anytime he wants more than anything else. So, of course, he had to take advantage of the ocean on our trip. He headed out beyond the waves breaking on the shore first thing in the morning and spent all day long in the ocean. That was until he got hungry. It’s so fun to watch him. This trip, there weren’t many “good” waves to be surfed but he certainly made the best of it.
One of my favorite parts of our recent trip was sitting on the beach at sunset, watching him chase the waves and just being present. I was able to clear my head and just be. Over the 4 days that we were there, I didn’t blow dry my hair or put on makeup once, I didn’t wear pretty, fancy clothes, and I didn’t open my computer. Not that I want life to be that way all the time, but it sure was nice to escape.
There is no way to truly describe what it feels like to return home and appreciate it for everything it means to you but it sure does fill my heart to click my heels and dream of the place I call home.