I love the beach.
I am a beach bum at heart.
My friend Dindy believes that the two of us have salt water running through our veins, and I believe she may be right. She and I have shared some beach trips, for sure - back in the day. Hilton Head was a favorite spot to visit - before it became what it is today. Our trips to Hilton Head were back when Charles Frasier first started developing the island, but had no idea - I don't think - that it would become what it has. To my mind and eye it's become another over-built resort city that, while charming, has lost that essential, basic charm it once had when it began as a beautiful, pristine island paradise.
And Fripp Island. Oh my. We had some glorious times at Fripp Island, I must say. I haven't been back to Fripp in over 20 years and I want to remember it as it was back then when 10 or 15 young, somewhat wild and silly people, would hit there every year for Memorial Day weekend.
I grew up on the water and it is indeed essential to my very soul to get back to it when I can. Funny how when I was growing up in Cambridge, I just didn't realize how it would become more important to me the older I got. Fact is, I miss it almost every day. And from my deep love of Cambridge, grows my love of being on the water.
Donald and Harley and I are at Topsail Island, NC this week celebrating our 23 wedding anniversary. Along with another "biggie." It's been a year since I've had a cigarette. Any excuse I can come up with for a trip to the beach, I'll find; and these two events seem well within the realm of justification, if I do say so myself.
This is our first visit to Topsail, but it won't be our last. It's wonderful!!!!!
First a bit of history -
In 1946 the US Navy took over Topsail Island through eminent domain and buying 99 year leases in order to test missiles - jet propulsion missiles for our "future" jet program. The program was referred to as Operation Bumblebee (The Bumblebee cannot fly. According to recognized aerotechnical tests, that is. Because of its shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wing area. But, the bumblebee doesn't know all this, so he goes ahead and flies anyway. Well aware that this new undertaking to develop a supersonic guided missile for the navy would face impossible challenges, Dr. Merle Tuve named the project "Bumblebee."
From the Operation Bumblee pamphlet written by David A. Stallman, 1992.) In 1948 they gave it up and gave the land back to the original owners. And moved the operation to what we now know as White Sands Missile Range. The reason being - it was too windy here - too much environmental interference. But. The instrumentation towers they used are still here and I took pictures of some of them.
There were 8 of these towers originally. They're all still here. Stark reminders that even in the most idyllic of places there appears to have almost always been the need for military presence.
Sprouting up among the abandoned military towers is beauty - some of the most glorious beauty Mother Nature can give us, along with pretty spectacular beach "cottages."
And then there's me and Donald and Harley. Finding ourselves fitting in nicely on this island of some apparent and perhaps perceived contradictions. Settling into a week of pure, unadulterated laziness. Laziness of the type that can only come when you've removed yourself from hearth and home; where you can't hear the call of those chores needing attention, the weeds needing pulling, the dust bunnies needing killing. Where instead you hear the call of seashells wanting you to notice their simple, exquisite beauty.
Where the joy of a doggie's grin makes you remember how very special life can be.
And where you're free to remember that you stood before God, friends, and family and said vows. And shared your belief in your future together. And 23 years later know that that love is still true. And that the person who was your very best friend ever is still your very best friend. And that life is good.