I never take for granted how incredibly lucky I am to have lived my entire life just a few hours from the gorgeous Atlantic Coast. When I was a young girl, my parents would pack all 4 kids into my Dad's avocado green Javelin and we would head South and East through the tiniest North Carolina towns with the craziest names like," Coats " and " Angier" and " Fuquay-Varina". Today, my husband and I pack our 3 children into a slightly larger car and head the same direction. But gone are the days of passing through those charming, and now, not so tiny towns. I-40 was built in the mid 1980's, cutting down the drive time to the beach to just over 2 1/2 hours, give or take a bit, depending on the beach. Just last week, I decided to take advantage of the fact that it's such a quick trip. I tossed a few things in a bag, rounded up a couple kids with nothing else to do, gathered some light provisions and hit the road. Our final destination was Caswell Beach, home to the stunning Oak Island Light House and sea turtle sanctuary. We've been going to this lovely beach for 25 years. It never, ever, gets old.
Like a lot of folks, I have been known to spend countless hours looking for all things quintessentially beachy, like sea glass ( have yet to find a single piece), and whole sand dollars (another seemingly unobtainable treasure) only to feel dejected and, well... a failure. Truly. But there was something different about this trip. As I scoured the blazing hot sand desperately, hopelessly, searching... it happened. Washing over me like that enormous unexpected wave. I looked down at my feet and saw something so startlingly beautiful, it left me breathless. A shell which had been so beaten by the surf that its tiny puncture wounds created an almost flower like pattern at the heart of its fully contained outer self. It was, a survivor. At that moment, my entire perspective shifted. My bucket, which had been completely empty, void of any beach goodness, suddenly began to fill up. Ka-plink, ker-plunk, in the bucket they went. Each one marked by a tattered edge, a wrinkle, a cracked center, flawed with an aged lovliness and imperfectly, perfect.