Friday, February 12, 2010

Beach Snow

   How cool is this? Snow on the beach? How often to we think of those two together? If you live on a northern coast, sure. But for those of us who live for our precious vacation days on the beach, snow does not enter into that vacation equation.
   How odd that I've spent my last two years planning to move somewhere that doesn't have snow. No more snow, I've cried. No more winter! So off I've gone on my search for Home, the place of no winter. Right off the bat I learned that it was sun not temperature that mattered. Sunshine makes up for below zero, ice on the roads and ten days in a row of snow storms.
   And now, tonight, I accepted snow as an acceptable piece of my life. I am sitting in a condo on Myrtle Beach, SC on the night the 2010 Olympics officially begin which also happens to be the day that 49 of the 50 United States of America had measurable snowfall. Only the moutains of Hawaii held back. Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia. Think about it. How cool is this night? Pay attention. Mother Nature has the Floor...

Winter Storms Abound

   Listening to the weather this morning I've been debating the wisdom of packing up now to get out of here before the snow, yes, snow hits the beach. But then I looked at the regional forecast from here back to Kansas City, No matter which way I go, there will be snow. It hits today and continues through the night but by tomorrow, most of the storm will have passed. Knowing that the southern states are not well equipped for snow removal does give me pause but since the total accumulations are at best, 3", I'm thinking positive thoughts about watching a lovely storm from my balcony and then driving without incident on freeways headed north. I'm beginning to feel like the Johnny Appleseed of snow. At least I can't be blamed for the Dallas dumping!

   A comment was made on my last post about whether my hanging out on the beach is in the best interest of my stated goal. I thought I'd been more articulate on this point but as I read back through the last couple of posts, I see that I was more rambling than clear.
   There are many wonderful things about the south but there are two major things that have taken this region off my list.
   First and foremost is the humidity. If I hadn't done the southwestern search first, I would not have been as aware of the effects of climate. I have been focused on no snow (you gotta' laugh over that one!) and lots of sunshine but hadn't broken it down to the basic elements. For so many reasons I didn't think I would care in the least for the southwest. Until I was there. Now I can't get it out of my mind.
   But I decided to persevere with this southeastern leg of the search exactly because I hadn't seriously considered the southwest and look what happened with that assumption. So I've tried to keep an open mind as I traveled up, down and all around in North Carolina. Throughout this trip, one thing has remained constant: my arthritis. Even in winter, the humidity is a factor.
   The other reason I've made the decision that the south will not be my new home was hinted at in a previous post. I have tried to live according to the rules of engagement set by others. I find that living in such a fashion can be comforting in that you always know what to expect and what is expected of you. If you choose to branch out, living a wildly loud life, then you must be sure that you live in a place that supports individualism and flexible boundaries.
   I believe I have searched my soul to the depths of clarity and know that I can survive outside the confines of southern predetermination. Having made this decision, I am now free to enjoy all that the area has to offer and to appreciate the ocean, the sand and the time to write.
   The sun has struggled this morning. Early, it was a bright glow on horizon. As it rose, it was met by heavy cloud banks, keeping the light to themselves. I tracked the progress of the sun by the ever-rising bright spot in the clouds. It has now risen into a lesser cloud cover and is showing a glowing orb of light despite the clouds attempts to obscure it. You go, Sun! I'm pulling for you. You know I am!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ocean Front Living

  I haven't been to Myrtle Beach since I was married to husband #1. I have fond memories of visiting here with my wonderful inlaws. My then mother-in-law had great stories of visiting here when she and her sisters were growing up. Even though it's winter and chilly, still, it's the ocean.
  Because it's the off season I've lucked into a condo on the beach for less than I've paid for most of the motels on my trip. I can watch the sunrise and see the glow on the ocean as the sun sets. Had planned to be here for a day but can't pull myself away. Think I'll stay on till it's time to head home.
  Walked on the beach as the sun rose this morning and plan to go back out for a roam later this afternoon. In between, I have much writing to do and sorting out of thoughts. The sun is shining happily and the waves are encouraging this day of thoughtfulness.
  Spoke to friend Sabrina last night who says you can't move in DC. The second storm, while not dumping as much snow, came with high winds, much drifting and since the roads were not cleared from the previous storm, are now without redemption.
  For now, today, I am living the high life, enjoying the sounds, smells and views of the ocean. I'm soaking it up to save for future gray Kansas City moments. I don't think I could live here year round but absolutely have found my new favorite February vacation spot.
  Keep warm everyone. Hope you have some sunshine in your lives today too.

Such a winter!

  It's EVERYWHERE!! And won't quit! If I could figure out how to download pictures on this blog, I could show you my adventure in DC. Such lovely snow. I didn't think I could top what I'd had to endure in Sioux City while visiting my brother for Christmas. We topped out at 27" over the 4, count them 4 days of the storm. Ended up staying with my sweet, uncomplaining brother for 5 days. I really thought that was enough of winter for me for the rest of my life. But NOoooo. I decided to visit my dear friend, Sabrina, in DC. In half the time, Mother Nature dumped 32" inches in Sabrina's neighborhood. If you're interested in seeing photos of my car masquerading as an igloo, send me your email address:-).

  The roads around DC were a mess but I knew if I didn't get out on Monday that the next storm would keep me there for several more days. As much as I love my friend and loved being with her, staying in one place is not the purpose of this trip.
  So Sabrina and I spent 90 minutes Monday morning digging out our cars and then I hit the road. South. South is lovely. South is warmer. South is still experiencing winter. Seems no matter how far south I drive, I'm still in grayness.
  BUT that's OK because that is what I need to keep me focused on Finding my Home. Today I had a couple of "those" moments. I was driving through one cool little burg and thinking about what an inviting place it was. And before I was 5 blocks through the town I was thinking it was a neat little town where everyone knew everyone AND their secrets. Which means it's a great little town...for a nifty murder mystery. But not so great for Home.
  Then later, driving through a different burg, I was thinking how reassuring it looked. Familiar. It was a true southern town with the kinds of houses you'd expect to see in a lovely southern town. Which is when I thought about how nice it would be to live in this town IF I wanted to know exactly what was expected of me. It was the kind of town where the home you live in dictates your behavior, the expectations of your behavior and there would never be any need to doubt your actions since they have been predetermined since the south became The South. The South is my catch phrase for any predetermined, controlled atmosphere. Sometimes we need to fit in. And then it's OK.
  OK also to not live there. To live an independent existence of Self Discovery rather than to live safely, being "protected" by convention. Being "protected" by someone else's idea of what I need in my life.
  It has been quite a day.
  And I haven't even mentioned the two ferry rides. I would love to have a ferry close by. Great fun to hop on and travel across the water. Would have been a bit more fun if there had been sunshine instead of rain but hey, it still beats snow!
  Had planned to take a break from driving somewhere along the coast but with the rain and fog, just never found the place so kept driving and driving till after 9pm, stopping 30 miles short of Myrtle Beach, SC. That will be tomorrow's adventure.