“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?” Our Town, Thornton Wilder
Dear Carteret County,
Arriving in a new town brings with it new feelings, a sudden and sometimes powerful onslaught of them. It’s as if the discovery of a previously unknown place comes equipped with either a warning or a welcome. But, like a romance, the intensity fades and feelings mellow, with any luck leaving behind a sense of comfort, fellowship and familiarity… and that notion of home.
In reflecting on not just the past year, but on all the many doorways and decisions that brought me to this moment, and to this place, I have no choice but to contemplate exactly where it is that I am.
My North Carolina town is a wonder to me in its joyous, everyday way. No longer from where I came – a beehive of traffic jams and blaring horns, squealing sirens to lull me to sleep at night, strangers, and the fall of footsteps on sidewalks to rival a runner’s gait. Here, I have moved from the unfamiliar and unknown, the foreign and the friendless and arrived at a place of peace, camaraderie and kinship. State parks, sandy beaches and solid footing finally beneath my feet, the salt air and ships’ sounds a soothing boom in the distance.
The knowing nod and wave of passers-by in the street, the hoot and holler of all the people you know in the parade, the folks you see at the grocery store for chit chat, or the ones who pull over to help when your car dies on the side of the road. Thank you Carteret County, for not requiring me to lock my doors, for my fellow neighbors who have my back. These are the qualities of caring and support that we look for in friends, that are the hallmark of happy families. These are the things that when they vanish, we long for them to return… or to return to them. Serenity is a sought after state, but so often one that comes when you stop looking so hard.
The pervading sense here in Carteret County is being acknowledged and feeling known. Like a shared history with a sibling: the stories you both recall, the secrets you hold, the inside jokes that make you chuckle, the tragedies you witness — you become a part of it all. Your internal dialogue and the things you focus on have power. So whisper to yourself sweetly with the magic of the moment. Not of what could be, but of what is. Oh, how grateful I am that it is here that I live and where I am now in this moment.
Carteret County, I want to thank you for being my home, even though I’m not from here. Thank you for showing me kindness and compassion when I needed it most. Thank you for the fun times you have provided for me and my children no matter the season: the jumps in Taylor’s Creek, the bike rides, building sand castles ‘til dark. Thank you for shrimp and grits and cheese straws! Thank you for wild horses and the Outer Banks. Thank you for the safety you have imparted— the countless nights of worriless sleep. But most of all thank you, Carteret County… thank you for loving me back.
Written by Landie Canfield, MCKRE Client Care Coordinator & Copywriter