We’re on our way to Disneyworld! Eight hours in the car today took us from the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia to Tybee Island at the northeastern tip of Georgia. This was Spanish territory once – part of Las Floridas, so the history in the hotel’s stained and dog-eared information book tells us. But despite its two pages of tales of the Euchee people and Spanish, French, English, Confederate and American flags, regardless of its talk of the war of 1812 and the amusement park that closed in ’99, it seems not a lot has happened here really. The sea still laps its shores in gentle rolling waves, the moon still rises over the ocean, and the ships still pass on the horizon, charting their position east of an island that exists as little more than a mark on a map. It is a western boundary of the Atlantic, and the Atlantic has many.
My plantar warted foot rests now in warm vinegary water, having just returned from dipping into the Atlantic. And it occurs to me now that after 18 months in the States, after almost six months in Mexico, two trips to France, three to England and one to Portugal, that this may be the very first time my feet have touched Atlantic waters. No matter, the ocean knows not names. When I first landed in California two years ago last October, I went to the beach often to dip my toes in the same ocean that touches Australia’s shores. It gave me a sense of connection with the place I then called home. Later I learned that home is where the heart is, and my heart never leaves me. There is grounding in that understanding, resting lightly twixt sheets of uncertainty.
That grounding led me to E, her house and family, the rock stairs, Floyd. It was that grounding that made all this possible. The ocean didn’t take me home, my heart did. It said, “Time to settle down, boy. Whatever you chasin’ ain’t gonna stop runnin’ ‘til you sit down ‘n’ wait for it.”
Patience may be this year’s virtue.