Sometimes when I have a hard time finding words to express the jumble of emotions and thoughts rolling around in my head, I am able to find the simplest poem, quote, or combination of words to aid me. The above poem by Lang Leav is likely meant to be read in a romantic sense, however it’s different in my situation. It’s not a person who changed, who is changing… but a place.
Beaufort, South Carolina will always be home in my heart, at least a small part of it. It’s the place I spent most of my life. It’s where I met my husband Joe, and where I met Autumn, whose proven to be my best and most long-lasting friend. I have many fond memories of Beaufort and it’s many charms, but each time I return now that I’ve moved away, I grow increasingly saddened at the state of my hometown.
Time shows no prejudices when it comes to so-called “progress” and “change.” I have always known this, or thought that I did. But seeing huge areas of trees no longer there to make way for apartments, small, locally owned and established businesses cast out to make way for new and generic ones, and entire chunks of the landscape devastated and missing entirely thanks to the past few years of hurricanes and big storms… I think it was the first time it really hit me.
We didn’t spend much time exploring this past trip. We were surrounded by friends and family and busy with holiday activities. We did take a trip to the Sands Beach, and though I was a dummy and forgot to bring my camera’s memory card (d’oh) I did obsessively capture the view from the Sands.
I’m terrified for the day when I return again to see even more of what I find familiar gone. It’s even scarier when I know that a restaurant is new, but I can’t remember what was there before. What happens to those memories? Are they gone?
I know my anxiety has a lot to do with this, but it’s overwhelming. It’s like if someone came into your house every day and slowly traded some of your things with something new. It starts small, one fork at a time, then suddenly you look around and realize your couch is completely different. It’s a stupid example, but probably the most accurate one I can think of.
Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like enough to visit and accept it as it is. I had a half hour long breakdown one day in the car while we were there because it was just so overwhelming how much of the place I had considered “home” for so long had changed. In the end I know there’s no going back, there is only forward. I just fear that someday it will become to painful to bear returning. I know that someday when I leave for the last time… I’ll know it. It will be a conscious decision to save the last pieces of the home I grew up in for myself.