“The future is inside us,
It’s not somewhere else”
-Radiohead, The Numbers
Since February 2017, I’ve owned and operated the Lumina News, which for 16 years has been Wrightsville Beach’s weekly newspaper. For the past year-and-a-half, it’s been my mission to keep Wrightsville Beach’s newspaper alive. Running a newspaper is a challenging job, made more so by changing economics and reader interests. Add to that a relentless weekly deadline and an underfunded balance sheet and it’s not hard to see why it can sometimes be discouraging.
There have been times when I didn’t think I would make it, that I would get too far behind and give up on it. There have been a few times when I wondered whether all of this blood, sweat and tears was worth it.
One thing has been made clear to me during the rush to get prepared for Hurricane Florence: it has been more than worth it.
Over the last few days, I’ve seen and experienced countless acts of goodness and generosity by the people of Wrightsville Beach. Some were directed towards me, and some for others.
There’s been a seemingly endless number of encouraging words and gestures. A slew of offers for safe shelter. A heartwarming invite. An unexpected gift of a bottle of wine, which will be enjoyed when the winds pick up. And a sorely-needed hug from a kind-hearted angel whose spirit shines so bright that no storm can shroud her light.
Like the pixels of an image, each of these tiny little acts fit together to create a larger picture. It’s the picture of Wrightsville Beach.
When I moved here three years ago, my plan was to do a little writing while squeezing in a little surfing. My plan was not to engage in the labor of love that is running this business. It was not to fall in love with this place. But here I am, in total and complete love with Wrightsville Beach.
With the Category 4 Hurricane Florence bearing down on us, Mother Nature is threatening to try take Wrightsville Beach from us. And I’m scared. And I’m not the only one. I see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the past few days.
The threat is real. If you think you can ride out this storm on the beach, you’re wrong. There will be devastating, catastrophic damage as a result of this storm. Buildings will flood. Walls may fall. However, there is one thing that won’t happen. Wrightsville Beach will not be destroyed.
Yes, there’s a potential for significant damage. Yes, it could take months, or even years, to recover. And yes, Hurricane Florence has the potential to significantly change Wrightsville Beach.
But she can’t destroy it.
That’s because Wrightsville Beach isn’t just homes and buildings. It isn’t just sand on the shore. It isn’t just boats and surfboards.
Wrightsville Beach is all about the people. It’s what makes Wrightsville Beach special. And there’s no way this storm can take that.
“A day may come when the courage of men fails,
when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship.
But it is not this day.”
-Aragorn, Battle Speech at the Black Gate, The Return of the King
Make no mistake. Mother Nature is coming for us. She is prepared to show us her wrath. She will try to take our beach from us. But she will fail. Deep in my heart, I know this to be true, because I’ve gotten to know the people of Wrightsville Beach.
Once the winds and the rains stop, we will be back. And we will be strong. And we will take back what is ours.