I’ve gone to Carolina. Yes, it is true that James Taylor may have said it in a song … and yes, it is true that I spend much of my dream time there … and yes, it is true that there is no place on earth I would rather be than on the pristine, protected beaches of the Outer banks. All true. All real. I have been toying with the idea for the past couple of years to take a trip there and maybe, if the chance arose, to spend another night, unnoticed of course, in an alcove in the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. That is a story for another day, though.
Tonight, as I was designing custom greeting cards for requests, which I rarely do, but just felt in the mood, I came across some old photos of the Outer Banks. There are many places I have been in my life and have enjoyed each and every one of them, but none of them have had such a hold on me as the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I can’t really pinpoint what it is about that little slice of land that calls to me as a siren … beckoning me to come and stay, to live and frolick in the white sand and play in the lighthouses. It even makes me want to ride a horse on the beach and I can think of nothing I would like less than to ride a horse. They terrify me on a level that is second only to spiders, but in that place, at that time, I would do it; and do it willingly.
There is something about the Outer Banks that seems to belong to me. It’s not mine, not really, but in my heart, I feel that I belong there. I feel that there is a place reserved just for me. That sounds a bit conceited, but what, in the life of a dreamer, doesn’t. When someone dreams about something they want so desperately, are they not at the center of the dream? I have never been accused of having an ego and would agree with that non-accusation. But I do have a very vivid imagination and there is nothing that I can’t conjure in my mind. In my dreams, things always go my way, always end up as I wish they would and there is always a very handsome, very tall, five-o-clock shadow man just waiting for me to arrive.
While dreams are fine and dandy, plans are another thing altogether. I’m not much of a planner, but more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. I find great pleasure in getting in my convertible, putting the top down and simply ending up somewhere, wherever it may be. Plans were made to be broken, deadlines were made to be missed and life was made to be lived. It I didn’t have to work to put my daughter through college, I would have been gone already.
It always seems to perplex folks that I want to experience New Orleans in the middle of summer with the stench that comes from the heat rising from the Mississippi, but how else can I experience it in the purest sense than then. Or to sit on a frozen lake in North Dakota in the middle of January. Who in their right mind, unless they live there would want to do such a thing? Me. I want to. Again, how else can I experience the reality? I don’t want to be a tourist just passing through these places I dream of. I want to be part of what makes it what it is even when it is not pleasant. I want to experience a Minnesota Winter, a San Diego Spring, a Washington State rainy season, the miles of sunflowers in Kansas (and a tornado, if I’m lucky) and to see the whole of Texas.
Then there is Austria, Ireland, Germany, Italy and India just to name a few. There are so many places I want to see that it is depressing to me to know that I will never be able to see them all before I die. I care not for the big cities. Those are a dime a dozen. I’m for the homely places with grandmothers cooking dinner, vineyards in the moonlight, mountains beneath a veil of fog. I am about life as it happens. We are, none of us, all that different. We live, we love, we dream, we hope, we aspire for something more. I just want to see it for myself. God willing, it will happen. Otherwise, I will remain, for all of my life, a dreamer, with dreams that are so much bigger than my reality. I can think of worse things than being a dreamer, however, being one with great faith in an awesome God, I look forward to seeing my dreams fulfilled. I can wait. I have waited. And in the end, the reward will far outweigh the waiting. Of that, I am certain.