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The warm gentle breeze lifts my hair as the smell of salty air stirs me to life.  It has been a long hard winter.  The whole nation has been shut down by something greater than the winter storms we have endured. COVID-19.  “Liquid sunshine” or “southern snow” as we call it down here, has only added to the dreariness of our souls.

However, as I stand before my special friend, who holds so many of my secrets.  The one who greets me unafraid to express how she really feels.  I feel as though the long days of darkness are finally coming to an end.  The sunrise is playing so beautifully with her today.  She seems calm and at rest today.  Her out-flowing tide seems to beckon me to come closer.

“Sit down and visit a while,” she whispers in her southern drawl. 

I quickly oblige her and find the perfect spot among the broken shells.  My heart begins to empty as I pour out the same old story.

“I’m tired.” 

Tired of the chaos. Tired of the confusion. Tired of the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring.  I am tired of living in fear.

Her touch is like a dear grandmother patting my hand with a comforting smile.

“I know child. I know,” she tenderly agrees. “Look to your left child.  The sun is rising again!  I must say it is creating yet another masterpiece.”

For a moment I watch as the golden rays paint the skyline in hues of purple, pink, and orange. Yes, I agree. It has always risen. No virus, no election, no winter storm, or any other tragedy has kept it from rising.

“Look to your right, child. The Cherry Grove Pier is undergoing renovations. Soon it will be lined with fishermen again, telling their stories of the big catch,” she seems to chuckle. “Soon I’ll be snickering again as they lose their bait to the seagulls and pelicans.”

“All around you, restaurants and shops are opening and preparing for spring. You have been wanting to try new things.  Do it, child.  You have been wanting to go to Snooky’s.  Go! The Crazy Mason is coming to North Myrtle soon. Go there, and for crying out loud forget about the calories for one day.”

“Go for a walk at the Heritage Shore Preserve. You know you miss it.  Go down to the Point again and look for sharks’ teeth. You are a tired child because you have not been living. You have been surviving. It is time to live again.”

Brushing the sand off the back of my jeans, I walk back to my car, thinking of all my dear friend had to say.  This past year has brought many challenges. It has taught us some valuable lessons if we will listen. Living is neither being in a rush nor is it worrying about the future. Living is about enjoying life, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. We are all tired. We have all been so busy trying to endure the long night of coronavirus, that we have forgotten the sun is still rising. It is time to live again.

I work for one of the most amazing places.  We are not co-workers here, we are family. The Elliott Beach Rentals family. No, we do not always get it right, but we do try.  What can I say—we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.  Yet, through this long night, we have held it together and become more unified and more determined. Our company was founded on the principle of giving families a place to come and enjoy life. Your family here at Elliott welcomes you back. It is time to visit again and enjoy the simple pleasure of living.

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