Monday, September 20, 2010

The Borderland of God

I cannot, unfortunately, find the wordsmith to whom the following is attributed:
At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.
Many thanks to my lovely spouse, my best friend, the person with whom I would rather spend countless moods and moments than an hour with any other, and my fellow beach bum, Mrs. Elsea, for letting me invade this sacred ground with what will undoubtedly be a prattling, meandering waste of space. I'll do my best not to let her down.

  We left after work on a Wednesday. There was a time, when these rickety bones were younger and more spry, that I could work a full day's labor and then drive 600 miles. Well, perhaps time doesn't move hour to hour at the beach, but it sure as heck moves that way up here in Ohio. As the picture I was able to sneak shows, I wasn't the only tired one. Unfortunately for me, between the two of us we didn't have enough fuel to get there. Not literal fuel, of course, metaphorical fuel. Hence, we both made our first visit to the lovely, though distressingly Starbucks-free, city of Asheboro, North Carolina.

I should pause here to give a brief warning: any resemblance the following has to an action-packed, exciting time is purely accidental. The vast majority of our time on vacation was spent in relaxing, restful repose, a recreational refreshment, really. No ifs, ands, or buts...this was a vacation from the go to the stop.

DeBordieu. This community, or, as the entrance gate proclaims "colony," was the destination and our home for nine glorious days. There's not much to say about DeBordieu that the next few pictures can't adequately convey (Nota Bene: all pictures in this post were taken during our trip).
And that doesn't even touch the beach. So if each picture failed to give you a thousand words, allow me three: nature, serenity, and beauty. You can forgive us for not wanting to venture too far away while we're visiting.

But venture we did, a time or two. A trip to nearby Georgetown, for instance, brought a few surprises. Alerted by Rachel's Aunt Janet, ever vigilant in her quest to land me my first silver screen gig, we headed into this sleepy industrial town only to find a bustling movie set. That's right, we stepped into the world of The Bay. When this inevitable Oscar finalist runs into its sixteenth week atop the box office charts, you can say you knew all along that it wasn't shot in "Claridge" Maryland on the Fourth of July after all! (You mean....Hollywood's not.....real??) No, it was Georgetown, South Carolina in mid-September. And that's not the Chesapeake you see in the background, it's the Waccamaw River near its mouth into Winyah Bay (Which Bay? That Bay.)

Had we not been warned in advance, I would have sworn I had fallen into the twilight zone. Expecting to have a nice late summer dinner in South Carolina, I find out it's the Fourth of July in Maryland! The town was impressively bursting with red, white, and blue, in addition to cool-looking movie people with thrilling titles like "Assistant Production Set Officer Manager." It was fabulous.
By the way, we didn't make it on camera. I can't get into specifics, but suffice it to say negotiations fell through at the ninth hour. It's all very technical and complex. Next time, Barry Levinson, I'll be in your stupid movie.

In addition to our brief flirtation with fame, we spent a day in the Holy City itself, Charleston. I'll leave another post altogether for that dizzy; the houses, streets, people, bay, boats, and campus all deserve far more than I here have space to give. If you haven't been to Charleston, seriously, go. Now. Stop reading this blog and go to Charleston. It also has a sweet name.

Back at DeBordieu: Golf cart rides. Basketball. Throwing the football. Reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading. Grilling. Delicious potatoes. Football (on summer vacation?!?!). Dinner at our favorite place (see pic - Murrell's Inlet; South Carolina's seafood capital). Dinner at a few other places. More grilling. Pool. Sun. Sand. Ohio who? No internet (glorious). Reading. Talks, walks, and television. Sunsets and sunrises. Yeah, I was enjoying myself.

We got good news early in the week. Uncle Todd and Aunt Janet (the aforementioned Scott Boras of feature film acting), the owners of the villa in which we abode (or is it abided?) and the fabulously generous benefactors of our excursion were coming on Friday. We met up with them in Myrtle, where we heard sordid tales of drunken vacationers debauching the fine interiors of Allegiant Air's best aeroplanes. I was shocked. But not so shocked that I lost my appetite. Yes, we occasioned the greatest confabulation of meat ever known to mankind (and because it was so much meat, I have to use mankind, and not humankind or ladykind). You won this round, Rioz, but I'll be back. And I expect that leg of lamb to be waiting for me.

Which almost brings me to our final moments. 7:30 AM. Saturday. The day we're to head home. Rachel's phone sounds. The alarm. She answers it and speaks. She answers the alarm? She tells me to get out of bed, we're going to the beach. It wasn't the alarm, it was a phone call. A phone call? Who calls at that hour, in the middle of the night? Struggling to comprehend what is happening, I find myself herded into clothes and down stairs, my body lifted into a seat on the golf cart. Then the beach. We're walking. It seems like forever. It was Aunt Janet on the phone. She wants us to see something.

And did we ever. Rachel has made me promise to post only one picture, saving some for her later use on these pages. What we saw was...well, you decide.
You know the excitement that electrifies a child the first time she sees a starfish? How about seeing a hundred? How about seeing a thousand? Actually, the picture doesn't do the scene justice; you can multiply that picture by ten and only then come close to the spectacle. It was, without exaggeration, as though the sunrise had burned every star away from the night sky and onto this small stretch of beach. It was miraculous. It was inspiring. It was...early. But it woke this night owl up. On the way back from that beach to DeBordieu, we witnessed another spectacle. Fish, by the dozens, were jumping out of the water a hundred yards off shore. It's not unusual to see fish jumping, but on that day they were really jumping. Lots of them. Constantly. Suddenly, something bigger broke the waves. A sailfish? A shark? It wasn't a dolphin. We see those all the time. Another sprang from the surface. As I stood on that beach, thinking about the peace it had afforded us that week, about nature's mysteries it had let us glimpse, as I watched those large shadows rise from the waters under the brilliant sunrise, it occurred to me that this was God's closing act, a private grand finale by the architect himself. Like the last blinding, dazzling burst of a fireworks show, he had saved the best for last. Now, he was just showing off.
The sun sets on every summer. We said goodbye to Uncle Todd and Aunt Janet, thanked them (as we can never do enough) for the use of their home, and bid adieu to the 'dieu. We sailed through Asheboro, all the way to humble Lancaster, Ohio. Home. It's good to be home.
P.S. I sneaked another picture on the way home. She may still have been tired, but at least she's tan!
P.P.S. props to anyone who can tell me the reference in the title. Especially without googling it.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Loved the post. No apologies necessary! Loved the pics. Don't you just love it when God shows off?