North of Myrtle Beach, SC – May 6, 2013
I woke in a swampy river. Green cypress glowed in the sunlight. Black water slipped between thick trunks. Snakes slipped out on naked limbs and turtles crowded logs to bask under the blue sky.
The storm was gone.
There was nothing at first, no houses or docks, no sea walls or bridges, but they came, piece by piece, trickling in from Myrtle Beach, pushing away the cypress until it disappeared into developed shoreline and a dredged canal with steep banks.
I looked up at giant tracts of sculpted land, some filled with buildings, others stalled halfway, like they’d been frozen in time and never realized. In places, empty lots surrounded clusters of apartments and giant homes that looked out-of-place standing alone. Faded signs painted with real estate agent’s numbers hung over empty, unmowed lawns.
I slipped up to a floating dock in the dark. It seemed almost new, no more than a few years old, but it had never been finished. It just floated, unconnected to shore, waiting for a ramp that never came. I looked at the bank and saw a tangle of undergrowth clogging a shaped, bulldozed slope.
It would have looked magnificent a few years ago, paved green with money and an ever-rising housing market. Now it’s a crater and a quiet, dark place to sleep a few hours before sunrise, before I became more than a shadow on an unused dock.