October 28 2008
Well its been a year since making the big move from Ohio. Time sure flys. I finally got to go home last month and see my family It was great to see them. Its hard though when you have 4 days to shove a year of missing into. Knowing that you probably wont see them for a long time again, so you feel pressure to make the visit count. Of course it falls short. And theres never enough time. And I left feeling like I didn't say and do as much as I would have liked to.
I saw friends too. Kathy, Diane, Kay, and Mary Ann, Marilyn, Cindy, and Deb, the best friend anyone could ever hope for, that I have had since high school. I missed her so much! I definitely didn't get to talk with her as much as I would like. And Lorraine who I hadn't seen in such a long time and I hope will be coming to visit soon! And all my friends from Cornerstone, the church I attended threw me a picnic and I had so much fun seeing them and spending time with them. Mark, Kay, Todd, Mary, Lori, Donna, both Mikes, but missed you Trish!
But I have to admit, I loved coming back to North Carolina. I am amazed that I love this place so much. It has become my home. It has definitely stolen my heart. I feel blessed to live here.
My day to day life has completely changed. I don't know how to quite explain it. I feel like I came alive when I came down here. Its actually less about the town I came from but more about the fact that I think I needed a drastic change in my life. I was just going through the motions. I had allowed the trials of the last couple years to overwhelm me. I was falling asleep at the wheel. And this move not only woke me up but made me want to start life all over again.
There is such a different feeling down here. At least for me. There is something going on all the time. Any given day or night I can find something to do with very little effort. Every Thursday there are fireworks in Carolina Beach, Fridays downtown you can take a leisurely walk along the river and listen to free outdoor concerts or join the many othersat the local hot spots, Saturday mornings I usually go to the farmers market downtown with Rhonda. There are street vendors selling plants, jewelry, art, fresh vegetables, seafood etc all while live music plays. Little sidewalk cafes, trendy shops, bars and restaurants. And the crowd is so eclectic. You can run into people of all color, all age, northerners and southerners. And it just seems like for the most part, they are all nice. People seem to recognize how fortunate they are to live here. (except some who remember the days before all the people and traffic!). And this is my favorite time. The tourist season is ending. The traffic is slowing down. The beaches are quieting down. The slow southern pace. I love it. The sun shining all the time. The beautiful weather. The accents. I find myself saying y'all without even meaning to. But the best part of all. The ocean. The peaceful, beautiful, tranquil ocean. And I have discovered the piers. Especially the one on the north end. It is an old wooden pier. Its the one in the picture that I use for my myspace background. There are always people on it fishing. And George, the resident pelican who comes right over to you and tries to steal your fish or waits for you to throw him the little ones. I have started fishing. With my husband and with one of my newest friends Rhonda and her husband Mike. I bought my own pole and they have taught me not only how to bait my own hook (yes cut the heads of shrimp and blood worms etc) to cast, to filet, etc. but they have taught me what fun it is. And in doing so I have actually come to love and look forward to the early mornings when Rhonda and I go or the late nights when Larry and I go to the pier till 2 am. There is a camaraderie there on the pier between the fishermen (and woman). I ran into an older gentleman named Harrison the other morning while enjoying my coffee. We began to talk and he explained it as this;
Its like a club, where they gather to talk, fish, tell stories etc. Its a club I am just beginning to be a part of. Strangers come up and talk to you. Give you pointers. Share their good fortune when they aren't keeping the fish. I really cant explain the pier and its peacefulness. It just is. There's a little grille and bar you walk through to get to the pier that's open 24 hours. The owners are incredibly nice people. You can walk inside at midnight or 6am and grab a coffee or a beer to take with you onto the pier. Even when not fishing, some mornings I go grab a coffee from Port City Java (NC's starbucks?) and I head down to the pier by myself. We live in the southern part of Monkey Junction about 5 miles from Snows Cut bridge, which is the only way onto the island where Carolina Beach (CB) is. About the minute I hit Snows Cut something happens. All worries and problems of the day seem to just fade as I cross over and look at the view from the bridge. When I get to the pier I can sit there with my coffee and watch the sun rising, watch the others walking along the beach, listen to those that are fishing, watch for dolphins or surfers. I've watched manarays, and sharks swimming by. Its amazing and just plain beautiful. And spiritual. Some may find that strange but as I said its just hard to explain. I have gone their in the early morning, dusk, alone or with others and I just feel peace when I go across the bridge and excitement when I see the pier ahead. Its calming. Its been a long time coming for me. I have also made friends here. One of which is Rhonda. I am so grateful to have met her. She is a wonderful friend. We have hit it off in an uncanny way. I feel like I have known her my whole life. We have so much in common and we talk and laugh and do things like we have been best friends for 20 years. Its weird. She's just such a joy to be around because she is always smiling or laughing. And she brought fishing into my life and introduced me to the pier. She understands what I am talking about because she has been a part of the "club" for a while now. And her kids are friends with mine. And Larry and her husband Mike hit it off too.
My early 40's were tough. They started out with a divorce, heartache, chaos, bad choices, wrong turns, loved one's deaths and trials I didn't expect and weren't prepared for. By my mid 40's when I met Larry my life started to turn around again. My 50's are starting out with peace. I may not be a true southerner but I definitely belong here. I cant see myself leaving. I like who I am here.