When I was a child, one of my favorite places at my grandparent’s farm was the hill above the big lake. There, a square of concrete hid beneath the pasture grass. In the springtime, yellow and white daffodils pushed through the grass and bloomed in swaying clumps. Someone had planted the flowers; they spilled down the hill. We children played there, skipping across the broken concrete, pretending we were in the kitchen or bedroom or dining room of our very own house. Intrigued, I would squat in my shorts set and part the grass. Planting my palm on the pebbly concrete, I dreamed of what I never knew.
I remember this childhood delight as I walk the road of my beach house. You’ve seen photos of our lovely beach house. It is serene, calm. And located in Waveland, Mississippi, where Hurricane Katrina roared in from the Gulf, pushing pounding waves onto land until all was water. Houses, trees, and lives were decimated.
When we told a man at our church about our new house, he said, “Oh, man. I grew up playing with kids all up and down Laffite Drive.”
When new neighbors clear their lots to begin construction, ornamental trees appear. Blooming azaleas. Palm trees. Someone loved this land. The road is dotted with the footprints of their homes and garages and tool sheds.
Several lots have sold since we bought ours two years ago. A new house has been built on the slab of a former home. Another house is being renovated. At the end of the street near the railroad tracks, the gathering of homes almost forms a neighborhood.
The street is a constant reminder: we are but wayfarers on this road of life. Our time will come . . . and go. We must enjoy where we are while we are there. I look forward to having my new neighbors. In the meantime, I live peacefully with the frogs and rabbits and bobcats. All of us, perched on the lip of the Gulf.