The day was overcast and threatening rain as I pulled into a gravel parking lot. In front of me I saw a line of canons facing the waterfront. In the distance I could see Fort Sumter isolated in the water off the coastline.
I have been reading the book Between The Waters, by Larry Luukkonen this fall. It details the northwest trails and the portages from Lake Superior at the mouth of the St Louis River to Big Sandy Lake and the entrance into the Mississippi River. The first major portage for loaded canoes was the Grand Portage.
I woke to a light but steady breeze coming off the ocean and when I crossed the bridge to Sullivan’s Island where our session was to start I could see white caps hitting the beach.
When I travelled by train the three hours to visit the wood canoe builder, Bart Deseyn of FreeRanger Canoes, I was looking for a very different story than the one I found.
I had some time prior to my ACA conference to sight see. I got the feeling the entire time I was outside my normal element. Here are a few thoughts why.
-The ocean, it is on the wrong side. Really, I have been living in The Netherlands so long now that it seems like the ocean should always be at the sunset not at the sunrise.
– Things are slower in Isle of Palms, SC. The speed posted on the roads is 25- 35 miles per hour and over the bridge back into Mount Pleasant is 55 mph. It just seems sooooo slow.
– People seem openly more friendly. I had several conversations about almost nothing with people here. People seemed actually interested in where you come from maybe because it is a tourist town and maybe because everyone is from somewhere else.
– It is hard as heck to find things if you don’t have a gps. Not sure why other than they camouflage all signage here in SC. They also seem to hide signage in the trees making it hard for all the rest of us to find where the chain stores are located.
– Mostly while I have been here in the states I find that I feel very out of place with how I feel about the direction of our country and how many people feel about the current administration. The current politics of this country.
– I had two people here thank me for my service when they found out I served in the military. What is nice is being recognized as a woman veteran. I don’t get this often and when I do I come close to tears. It was incredibly hard to serve so many years and then when I got out I never know how people would react to my service. It hasn’t always been positive. On this weekend of honoring veterans it is nice to know that some people feel our service to our country is important and worthy.
Thank you to those of you who thank our veteran population no matter their gender.
On this Veteran’s Day weekend:
I think of my two children who are now deployed to the countries of Qatar and Kuwait.
The wonderful guys and gals I have had the honor to serve with over the years.
For those families of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
As I kayak this weekend I will think of them…all of them.