Past McClellenville, SC – May 4, 2013
The wind didn’t stop. It just slammed into me again as I inched forward. It felt routine. The last few days blend together, daylight and darkness mushed together with bent grass and frustration. I should be forty miles from here. I should be close to North Carolina. I should be two days ahead.
Then I heard music through the trees and saw white tents and a crowd of people along the shore. Shrimp boats paraded by with colored flags waving from their towers. They came one after another in a long line that rose above the salt marshes and made its way toward the ocean. People cheered and clergy blessed the fleet while I floated in the water and watched, not sure what I’d stumbled on.
I got out and found myself in a festival of people eating shrimp kabobs and BBQ sandwiches and listening to music blare out from speakers. Kids raced through the crowd. Laughter and cheer filled the air between bites. Everyone looked happy, colorful, and full of joy.
I felt like an alien floating through the crowd. Salt stained, beaten down by the wind, tired, almost broken, but no one there worried about the wind, no one cared about where they should have been or how many days they’d lost, they all just looked so content and filled with shrimp and beer.
So I bought a BBQ sandwich and a shrimp kabob. I gave a Mickey Mouse ball I’d found floating in the grass to some kids playing on the dock. I made friends and talked to strangers. I joined the crowd and I decided to be happy too because I am where I am and nowhere else and nothing will change that.
And maybe, just maybe, my ship needed the blessing too.