Friday, December 13, 2013

Charleston Walk-about

We took a walk-about today along the streets of old Charleston, a city which exudes an atmosphere of old money, the scent of which is mingled with the cigars once made here and the rich perfume of the azaleas, gardenias and crepe myrtles which anchor nearly every well-tailored garden along the picturesque streets. Centuries-old homes sit regally presiding over the streets, many with signs placed by the Preservation Society of Charleston, providing a window to the history of this city to any interested passers-by. The homes are closely spaced on the blocks, yet there is no feeling of being crowded. For the most part, the doors into the homes are  not on the front, but rather on the side of the home, which welcomes the visitor with a small courtyard, established gardens,walkways, and fountains,some behind stone walls, and all with ancient overhanging shade trees. There are columned porches on every floor which span the length of the homes and provide space for large porch swings and hammocks strung across the corners.

These homes are monuments to a slower way of life, a life without the ravages of media, where conversation was entertainment enough and courtesy expected. As you walk by, it's easy to imagine the frosted ice tea glasses dampening the lace doilies on the wicker tables as neighbors laughed and fanned themselves trying to escape the heat of the day. The horse-drawn carriages still roll through town, now manned by tour guides whose colorful renditions of history grow with each telling.  It is easy to be swayed by nostalgia in this town, a yearning for a simpler life, but the reality is that life was hard then, as evidenced by the dates on the nearly faded tombstones in the church cemetery. Most of them tell of tragically short lives, with very few over the age of 30. The cemetery is laden with unrealized dreams.

If our short time as cruisers has taught me anything, it is that I am extraordinarily grateful to be doing this thing we have worked so long to do. A dream is a precious commodity rarely formed or realized today and I strive always not to take it for granted. Charleston is one of those places that really brings it home.

Our waterfront Charleston home


Latitude 43 said...

Excellent post. We hope to get back there next year and stay a while. While you are there check out the Blind Tiger Pub

Mike M. said...

Very good! Thanks for the memories, too...I was stationed there at Charleston Air Force Base in the mid 1990s. Loved it!