I love new beginnings. There’s just something about January 1 each year that offers such hope and possibility. New beginnings have special meaning for those of us living at the beach. We live our lives by the rise and fall of the tides, the migration of the birds, and the running of the flounder. Walking on the beach on a Wednesday morning in winter is the best time to consider next steps. I love bundling up and strolling along the shoreline; deserted beach as far as the eye can see. Longfellow said it best:
All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song
Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o’er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
And in a tumult of delight, and strong
As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.
– The Tide, 1874 –
Bolivar folks are a resilient lot. We know all about new beginnings. We know that “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings” (Lao Tzu). Such was the case back in September of 2008, when Hurricane Ike took a mighty toll on our beloved peninsula.
In those dark days following the storm, we turned to one another for comfort. After all, who else could understand our pain and despair? As 2009 dawned, many of us were unsure of our next steps. But still, we clung to each other, even across the miles as we all temporarily relocated to distant parts of the state.
Slowly at first, and then at what seems like warp speed, our community began to rebuild. The neighborhoods filled up again with Easter-egg colored houses built high on stilts and life came back to our peninsula. The pioneer spirit of Jane Long infused us as we fought to rebuild the lives that we love.