Coming to Edisto Island for Thanksgiving is kind of like spring cleaning for the heart. Just as I’ve started to hunker down for winter, closing off rooms to keep the house warm, closing the curtains at night, piling on the down comforters, I hop in the car, travel 12 hours south, and step onto the Island, flinging the windows and doors of my heart wide open. In blows a balmy breeze, whisking away cobwebs, decimating dust, and ushering in a sweet scent of sun-warmed pilings, tangy oysters, and marsh brine. It’s impossible not to feel a thrill of genuine, unadulterated thanks in such a sunny, sultry environment.
Little Friend felt the thrill yesterday, too. Running straight into the November waves (just slightly colder than cold bath water), she proceeded to test the limits of her diaper and threaten the population of shells within reach of her chubby hands. Her duck fluff hair flared in the breeze. Parents and grandparents rolled up pants and cavorted in the waves right alongside her. “Here’s a shell.” “Do you see the pelican?” “Look at the bubbles!” “Ready to go home?”
It’s good to have a favorite place. Someplace just outside of ordinary but familiar enough to feel like a semi-remembered dream. Someplace that flings open those unused rooms of the heart and sends a breeze zipping through. As I paused mid run this morning on my favorite spot on my favorite island, I thought about how simple peace really is and yet how easily I avoid it.
99.99999% of the time, I think Peace is the thing that arrives AFTER I finish the to-do list, re-make the beds, complete my Christmas shopping, and remember to feed the cat. Despite my best efforts to avoid it, every so often, Peace taps me on the shoulder to reintroduce herself.
I felt the tap as I sat down in the middle of a boardwalk on an Edisto Island State Park trail. With no one in sight, I was alone, suspended above the maze eddy of waters through marsh grasses. The rising sun had generously dabbed the cottontail clouds with pink. The marsh grasses stretched golden and brown as far as I could see. On either side of my perch, islands of gnarled oaks in spanish moss scarves anchored the boardwalk. Peace sat down beside me. I shook her hand, forgetting for that moment that I hadn’t tackled the to-do list, and I simply gave thanks for such a simple, gorgeous minute of life.
Our Thanksgiving meal is listed on the fridge white board. We have cranberry-orange relish fermenting in festive jars on the counter. We’re debating where to eat lunch on this sunny, slowed-down afternoon. McConkey’s Jungle Shack’s juicy-licious burgers and sweet tea call seductively. I haven’t solved the world’s problems, but I’m willing to give myself a pass for the next few days. Peace should be a welcome guest at the Thanksgiving table.
I think I’ll add a few items to the to-do list, though. For example, sandy feet brushing.
And maybe some wet-diaper-wringing.
Thanks be to Turkey Day on Edisto Island.
It’s not too late to decorate your Thanksgiving counter with some fermented cranberry-orange relish with an easy and healthy recipe from Oceans of Joy. I’d also recommend booking a peace-filled vacation at Waves of Grace on Edisto Island, SC.