So before we move on, I must address the inevitable question – “Why Charleston?” For those of you who have been here or live here – you understand and another word need not be said. For those of you who haven’t – only one word is necessary. Magic. It is a place of beauty, mystery and history that draws you in and never lets go. Surrounded by countless meandering rivers, the ocean and vast marshlands, there is enough open space to feed a soul for centuries. Ghosts walk the cobbled streets and whisper their stories in the dappled moonlight and rising heat. The multicolored buildings rise out of the peninsular land with faces from a storybook written long ago and courtyards that beckon to you with their secrets. It is a place of moonpies and RC Cola, oyster roasts, shrimp n’ grits, hoppin john and the sweet meat and salty chin-dripping juice of boiled peanuts. (And yes, Charleston is in fact metropolitan enough to boast enough Sushi, Thai, Indian, New American, and French fusion cuisine to satisfy a jaded New Yorker).
Here, dolphins, loggerhead turtles, osprey and crawdads coexist with their two-footed brethren.On a dirt path through the marsh grasses to the Ashley River, crabs skedaddle, and birds sing and squawk their come-hither night songs. Thunderclouds rise from a soft and blazing sunset. Laughter and a merry song float up river from the last plantation left on the Peninsula, its grounds festooned with lights and bright white tents. A lone motorboat roars its way home to escape the night. This is the magic of Charleston.
I do miss New York for all the things I could have done and even sometimes did…a hot sweaty salsa club on a dark abandoned street, cheek to cheek dancing to Ole Blue Eyes on the 38th floor of a shimmering skyscraper, the Philharmonic in Central Park. But I wouldn’t trade it all for the newly resurrected southern lilt in my voice. It’s a sweet song after all those years of less-sensuous sounds because it makes me want to be more generous and kind than I’ve ever been.
So what is your Charleston magic?