Friday, November 13, 2009

return like the tide

I am re-reading one of my all time favorite books, Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides. It is an incredibly sad story, but it is so beautifully written that I willingly hand over my heart to be broken. It starts with "My wound is geography." Such a perfect opening line.

It is the story of Savannah, now grown up, a tortured poet. The book begins with her latest suicide attempt and her brother Tom is summonded to New York to help. The psychartist tells Tom "I can't help your sister until I know her story but she cannot tell it". And Tom replies simply, ominously, "we don't talk about what happened". Tom soon realizes that the only way to save the sister he so dearly loves is find a way to tell the story that has no words. He has to walk into the den of his own demons to try and save Savannah from hers.

This is one of the books that made me fall in love with the coast of South Carolina, sight unseen. I will make my pilgrimage one day and send flowers into the sea for Savannah and all her secrets. It has been several years since I last read this book, but I can still recite the closing lines by heart. "Each day as I take the bridge that leads me home to my family I say two words. I say them as prayer, as regret and as praise. I say Lowenstein, Lowenstein." The Prince of Tides is, ultimately, a love story. It is a story of letting go and of holding on so tight that no storm can rip you apart. It speaks of the love of siblings and the love that transcends blood. It is heart-breakingly beautiful and always calls me back like the tide. Once again, I willingly throw myself against the rocks.