I'm a bit late with the second phase my public writing journey. Here is what I've 'carved' from the raw block of words - so far.
I grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC one of the largest beach tourist destinations on the east coast. In many ways I was a beach rat, spending my summers working at my family’s ocean front hotels and making friends with our weekly guests, and their daughters. Mine was a life filled with those summer days of youthful zeal, sun-tanned skin, wind blown hair and new beginnings. Every week was a new start with clean rooms and new guests. The four month vacation season dominated all that we did. It seemed that school, and all things winter, were simply the time we spent remembering or preparing for summer. Summer was our time. Summer was the time when we thrived economically and personally. I always lived in summer. The heat of the sun blazed down from the sky and up from the sand. The sea tossed its mist into our air and we breathed in the damp essence of life. Living so close to the sea, we drew our life from it day in and day out. The sea held us and brought life to us. Its vast reservoir, pulsing with each tide, offered to and collected from everything it touched. It is this giving and collecting, that I have witness many times.
The sea gives. My grandfather and father were both sailors. Their comfort with the sea and its gifts of food and fellowship were passed to me. I can remember the day my brother and I spent a day catching hundreds of small ‘spots’ only to face the task of scaling and cleaning them into the night. My grandfather taught us that day about finishing the tasks we started and about the sequence of work to reward. It was fun to catch. It was work to clean. We had to do both to eat. It was the sea, as it lingered in the marsh and inlets that gave us this opportunity.
The sea gives. I have witnessed many occasions of children and adults finding the sea for the first time. They had been inlanders all of their life and never seen the sea. That seems strange to me, even now. What a change of perspective that must be – to see the sea, to see and feel for the first time the sea from which we are created…