My cup of coffee is steaming hot and the mountains are covered in a blanket of snow. The fire place is holding a dancing, merry fire, who's singing out a crackling song. Dad is cooking away in the kitchen, determined that I am not going to head home without food (because he's convinced I don't eat enough, or not the right things...?) and so he's been making my favorite dish, chicken bog, all morning. Oh, this is the most delicious low country (which means only made in the low lands of South Carolina) dish ever thought up....well, next to shrimp and grits. Yes, I am whole heartedly, one-hundred percent, a southern girl and not just southern, but a Carolina Girl! I'm not sure what it is about south carolinians, but from the day their children are born, they drive deep into their hearts an appreciation for their beautiful state and all that comes with it. I have found this to be especially true on the coast of South Carolina, where I grew up. When someone is born on the ocean and the first breath we draw in is salty sea air, we are not who we would have been, had we not been born on the sea. We are forever changed, almost requiring to live where we can see the sun meet the horizon. It is the only place we can truly breath right, the only place our soul is truly still. However, we learn to adapt, to live where our families are, where our beautiful God has called us to live, be that Africa, Haiti, or a state filled with rocky mountains, but we will forever have a deep and abiding need to go home to the sea every so often. To recharge and remember why it is said of us "they have sand in their blood."
We go back to remember how to speak right, with a lilting accent that smoothly sails across our tongues. We go back to "eat right". To eat the sweetest, freshest seafood, chicken fried to perfection, greens and sweet potatoes that out grandmamas make like no other, to consume mass quantities of pecan pie until we bust, because as every good southerner knows, pecan pie is definitely it's own food group. And of course, all this eating is perfectly fine and done with no guilt, for calories eaten on the ocean just don't count.
We go back to remember that every time we say something about anybody, be it positive or negative, we should always, like a proper southerner, "bless their hearts" cause then, even if we are saying something we know isn't quite up to par, it's cancelled out by this three word tack on:-D I mean, we were only sayin' the truth so we could bless their hearts! Not that I do this, of course. I don't...really.
We go back to spend hours shell hunting, though we have no idea where we could possibly fit another shell. But, what if we find one we've never found before?? Then, along the way, we just have to pick up those other pretty shells we've found, cause they were just so...pretty! Couldn't leave them lyin' their all by their lonesome. We go back to spend hours on the porch, drinking sweet tea (no lemon for me please) and remembering the "good ol' days" laughing till our sides feel like they'll split.
We go back to again come face to face with our God. For I am convinced, perhaps because it is where He first gave me breath, that this place, where the sun touches the horizon is where I literally stare into His beautiful face. It is in this place, where my feet sink in the gray sand, where the gulls sing out a lilting song, and the waves crash with haunting precision, it is in this place that my soul touches His, and once again, I am unwaveringly sure, that no matter where I live, no matter where I go, just as the sun forever holds the horizon, He forever holds all that I am...