Saturday, July 21, 2007

a day (not) at the beach

We packed Nikki's car with the intention of going to the beach. But little dresses distracted, and we ended up walking down blocks upon blocks of shops, stepping into air conditioned stores, flipping dresses and skirts over the crooks of our arms, trying to find the perfect shape.

I came home with three dresses and two skirts (as well as a pair of flip flops after the ones I wore tore strips of skin from my toe and two hair bands when the heat prompted hair to stick). Some I can wear to work, some are justified by a rehearsal dinner and the need to dress nicely for dinners on the cruise.

But, in truth, I really just bought them because I liked them, and, as Nikki said, "This is the summer of dresses and skirts." I like that philosophy.

We parked the car by the ocean and walked into town. We meandered through neighborhoods, oversized houses pressing into the sidewalk, our curiosity leading us to peak into windows and through hedges.

We found so much beauty in the streets of Charleston: the smooth bark of flowering trees, the window boxes full of annuals, shutters wide open, black on white.

Wrought iron. Tree canopies. Cemeteries with leaning headstones. Big women weaving baskets in the shade of umbrellas. Accents so thick, much bears repeating.

A fountain sprouting wings, little drops of water caught in the sunlight. Old lanterns, more iron, and benches to rest.

Our days passed too quickly: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We managed to be both lazy and busy. Nothing frenzied, all the pace of Southern life.

I cannot move past the porches though. When we were house shopping, this was one of my conditions: I did not care whether or not we had a patio or back deck (we ended up with that bricked patio, which is actually very lovely). I wanted a screened in front porch (which now contains many boxes and bags of donations for the Epilepsy Foundation and is growing). Now, my tastes have grown greedy: a wraparound porch. Ceiling fans to spin lazily. A rocking chair. Sweet tea.

I began to long for the South of my childhood. Not the South with all that hatred, but the one that contains hospitality, warmth, rolling mountains, cicadas, lightning bugs, crickets, dogwood, cornbread, fried chicken, the word "y'all," kudzu.

This South is a little different though, with an ocean and palm trees. We had no sand between our toes, but we did feel the ocean brush against us in the wind.

Little sailboats dotted the horizon, little white sails flapping good-bye.

And this last image, not belonging to my childhood, no, but a reminder of these four days beneath the heat of the Carolinas, with my high school girl friends, a fistful of adventures, and these photographs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! The photo details are lovely. ; )