Monday, September 14, 2015

East vs. West

I drove into South Carolina, listening to Lucinda Williams singing about watching the ocean bend and wondering "if there were no tears where would sorrow find a home". I passed through cotton fields and little towns time has forgotten, American flags all along the sidewalks in town, plaques of confederate heroes along the roadside, I wonder if anyone ever stops to read them. I crossed railroad tracks, drove by farm stands selling the last of the summer crops, and then over the Waccamaw River. That's where the smell hits you. That black river. The smell of dirt roads, salty sea air, brackish water, sea oats, hot asphalt,ripe fruit, the south. Home. That smell is home to me. Memories flood back every time I cross the Waccamaw and get to the beach. 

Summer cantaloupe, ripe tomato sandwiches on white bread with mayonaise, sand in my bed sheets no matter how well I wiped my feet before bed, sunburned skin, cherry flavored Icees from the 7 Eleven, boiled peanuts in a brown paper bag. Later, gin and tonic in the bars at night, Mothers Finest on the radio singing Baby Love, or the Eagles singing One of These Nights. 

Then Labor Day, September, when all the tourists went home and the town was quiet and the locals banded together. The ocean was still warm after the summer crowds left, even at night, it belonged to the locals and it was a private club in the fall. I love being here in September. In nine days I will be fifty five. I only lived at the beach for 15 years of my life, but it was the growing up and learning years, the years that define you. September and the ocean are for some reason synonymous to me. I feel it's pull every year around this time. I drove by the house I grew up in today. I just stopped the car and sat there, stared at my bedroom window. I bet that fucking place is haunted now!

I live a different life now, I'm not a beach girl anymore. Gerry and I want farmland. But that sea air and salt water are in my blood and will always be a part of me. It heals my soul. And I have needed some healing, so I got in the car and left for the beach this morning. My arm needs some time to heal, my heart needs some mending, I need the ocean. My mom made me supper. Potato soup and grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. Potato chips. Pecan pie. I don't eat like this at home, but it was mighty fine. We sat and talked. I see her in a different way now. I know now how a mother misses her child. I'm trying.......

My daughter is sitting by the opposite ocean on the west coast. I'm an east coast girl, always will be. I wonder, will she become a west coast girl or did the south seep into her skin like it did mine. I could never live anywhere else. I still miss her terrible bad (as my aunt would say)  and despise this hateful notion of children leaving the nest. But so it is. I have my life, she has hers. My life is moving forward into uncertainty and so is hers. Here in the east, there in the west.....


Dennis Allen said...

Beautifully written Tracey. Seems like the only thing that stays the same is that things change.

smartcat said...

Lovely thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.
The hardest part of being a parent is letting go. The bonus is that you will have a wonderful, adult relationship with your daughter.
Just make sure you have a really good long distance plan and Skype.

cookingwithgas said...

Lord Child you do need some southern comfort.
Someday you will forget the bucket of sorrow that you are carrying right now.
They will be a lost dream.
I stepped out of the car today and thought about calling my mother.....
Life is for the living she use to say to me.
So we walk on and live.

Vicki said...

These words, so heartfelt and deep.
You should enter your writing somewhere - your words connect in a very real way. I've never been to your corner of the world (or the US for that matter), but I felt as though I had been, reading this.

Transitional periods can be so difficult. Especially for those left behind.
We know that our children need to fly in order to grow, as sad as it is for us mothers. I don't think the heartache ever truly leaves, but it softens.
A country life that will keep you busy day and night will help, in time, as animals and endless chores makes us weary at the end of the day, and life mellows.
I desperately cling to these same thoughts for myself. As our boy spreads his own mature wings, my thoughts turn to growing real food, herbs, living more sustainably, and enjoying what's left of my time on this earth.

Tracey Broome said...

You guys are so wise and so kind, I am truly blessed to have you as blog friends! Thanks for being out there

Laurie said...

Though I don't know what it's like to have a child leave home, I do know the ocean heals my soul too. We'll be there in a few weeks, and I can't wait.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Laurie, this is the best time of all for the beach, something about the light.....
Have fun!

Michèle Hastings said...

Potato soup and grilled pimento cheese sandwich - one of those meals that tastes best when made by your mother.
You'll sort through all these changes and will soon settle into your new rhythm of life.

Scott Garrett said...

Blimey, that was lovely Tracey. I hear where you're coming from, pulled in all sorts of directions. I've disappeared a bit from blog world, but I always read... And feel your posts. Still here, somewhere! Life eh?

Lori Buff said...

You're a beautiful writer Tracey.. I hope you find the healing you are seeking.

Scott Garrett said...

You should be making money from writing all this stuff too. Someone would pay. It's all good stuff and very well written... always!

zarena cantik said...

perfect perfect fried rice, good post for the beginners as well..Super Prema, loved the presentation very much
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