By Mark A. Leon
As I walked the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park pier last evening, I began to think about science and the truth seekers that lead the revolution of knowledge gathering. Their framework is very simple: seek answers to life’s most complex and challenging questions. The goliath of all questions that has riddled us all is the meaning of life and existence.
Where did we come from? Why are we here? What lies ahead after our organic body seizes? We most likely will never know the absolute truth of what force led to this thing we know as the universe and our tiny piece of real estate, but we continue to search.
Over the millions of years of evolution, our bodies, our ability to think, our every-day tools have developed and adjusted, but one core value has remained with humanity; the ability to feel empathy and love.
What makes love so powerful and so unexplainable? It brings us to extreme levels of happiness and sadness. It makes us laugh and cry. It penetrates our bodies to the point of actual pain and ecstasy. Yet, it is completely unpredictable. Perhaps, you need to look at love as not an answer to be sought, but a guiding force in our journey.
As I walked the pier, with the final glimmer of sunlight reflecting off the harbor on onto my back, I saw couples holding hands, taking selfies, sitting on the rocking bench together, mothers and daughters holding hands, fathers giving son’s piggy back rides and all had the same common attributes of laughter, happiness and joy.
Just then, it hit me, the glue that keeps the wheels spinning on Charleston is the aphrodisiac in the air of love. It is the roots of our garden, the fuel that keeps this Southern flame alive.
Take away the mansions, the fancy restaurants, the church steeples, the scenic waterways and you are still left with a simple philosophy: “Be guided by the simplicity of love, find those that fulfill your need of community and embrace the nature wonders of home and there you are”. Charleston’s core mantra is love.
What brings couples from all over to pledge their eternal love on our beaches and churches?
What leads flocks to seek warmth under our sun?
What plants the idea to step back over two hundred years and let a horse guide you through the cobblestone roads?
What presence sends subliminal messages to kiss under the palmetto and frolic through Philadelphia Alley?
Why do you feel the need to dance on the sidewalk as a street performer serenades you or dine as the moon reflects off the harbor waters?
We shower you with our Southern kindness, greetings of acceptance and acts of respect.
That is the pillar that can never be broken in Charleston. That is the life that we have chosen.
When I think of a word to best describe the Charleston experience, it is simple, “Love”.