My mother has always had a slightly unhealthy obsession with estate sales, and because of this I have learned that there are many cheaply priced gems to be found within the midst of old towels and used dishes. But my favorite thing we’ve ever found at a sale was a map of the United States with a single marking on it in black sharpie that read ‘E’s favorite place’. The sharpie was indicating a little spot off of the coast of South Carolina, called Edisto Beach. And as fate would have it, my dad had just won a couple of tickets to anywhere in the U.S. and my parents and I had been trying to figure out where to go. After researching this unfamiliar town we decided to see why ‘E’ chose this to be their favorite place. The moment we drove into town and saw the pelicans fly over the light sea, we knew exactly why E loved it so much.
The last time I was in Edisto Beach was spring break last year. Being there truly makes me feel light as air. There is no way for me to feel the normal weight of everyday stress when I’m waking up to the Carolina sun creeping through the curtains and the sound of waves crashing onto the sand just outside my door. The sea catches the sunlight and reflects it like glittering diamonds washing up onto the shore.
The sand is almost made up entirely of crushed seashells and if you look closely enough it feels like they are itty bitty pieces of a puzzle that you are destined to put back together. The beach is pieced up by long jetties made up of towering collections of dark rocks. The jetties reach out into the ocean as if their chasing the sunset and they beckon you to try and follow them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to walk to their ends and follow the sun myself before the waves came crashing a little too close.
In a normal day my mom and I may lay in the sun and count the shrimp boats balancing on the distant waves. Reading a book I brought with me in the hot sun and wondering if those far out shrimp boats have caught anything worth while. I may be successful in convincing my dad to go out in the water with me where we dive into the incoming waves and I squeal at the thought of sand sharks darting around my legs. I’ll wash the saltwater off and make my way up the stairs to get to the house as all the houses on Edisto Beach are lifted up onto stilts to protect them from the mischievous high tide. My mom and I rent bikes and ride down abandoned neighborhood roads to the small grocery store at the end of the street. When I look up I can see the sunlight peeking through the moss-ridden branches of the trees and feel the wind pushing me along as if it can’t wait for me to get to my destination. After getting back I might take a walk on the beach where I can pick up the oddly shells and sharks teeth that pepper the sand I walk along.
Sitting on the porch watching pelicans dive into the waves to collect dinner while I count my shells and kick the sand off of my feet, that is when I feel most at peace.
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