Hi everyone! I thought I would take a moment to share the article that was published in my town's newspaper, The News-Leader. For locals who subscribe, it can be found in today's issue of the newspaper (September 30, 2022). For everyone else, I'm making this blog! Below is the original text from the article, as well as an image of the edition published today. (The newspaper made some changes to the text for formatting purposes.)
The Smell of Amelia Island
Even though I grew up in a small town in Indiana, not far from Indianapolis, I like to say I grew up with one foot there and the other foot right here in Yulee and on Amelia Island. Every year, either during spring break or fall break (or, on special occasions, both breaks) my mother, my sister, and I would all load up in my mother’s boat of a car and set off. There was always something liberating about the trip. Being out on the road, watching the sky turn from grey to periwinkle to crystal blue then to midnight; seeing taillights and stars and cities and strangers—it was freedom. I was born in the late nineties, but my aunt has lived here since before then. Naturally, I grew up visiting my aunt in this area during the decade-long construction of State Road 200. At the first sight of reflective orange cones on the road and the bumpy, loose gravel beneath otherwise smooth tires, I knew I was home. This was my second home, a home away from home. My favorite things were always the live oaks and the Spanish moss, the cries of the seagulls, and the way you can stand at the edge of the earth. The sea breeze too, always the sea breeze. One of the most distinct things I loved was the smell of the Island. Some mornings when we would go to watch the sunrise—the pink skies and rock-candy blue waves and that heart-stopping ball of fire—the air would smell of salt and pine and citrus. Did you know that the part of the brain responsible for processing emotion and memory also processes any smells we encounter day to day? These smells will then be associated with what we felt at that same time. Because of this, smells can bring to mind more potent emotions and memories than any other of our senses can. So to me, the smell of Amelia Island was the smell of freedom and of home. Three years ago in 2019, I made this place my permanent home. Every time I catch the scent of the Island on the wind, I’m reminded of all the wonderful things about this area. All at once, I can stop and look up to the sky and watch the clouds for a moment. I can appreciate the wild storms and skies I get to experience here. I can close my eyes, listen to the birds and the rustle of the palm trees all around. There are many things that make Amelia Island special—charming and quaint and compelling—but perhaps some of those things might be things we overlook too easily because they are part of the mundane. So, today I challenge you to pause what you’re doing, take a moment, and live in the moment. What was it that made you first fall in love with Amelia Island? Rachel Glover (also known as R. D. G. Lover) is an avid author and artist, and in her spare time, a freelancer. She is working on her illustrated fantasy series about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which she plans to pitch to agents and editors this fall. When she’s not working on her books, you can find her creating digital paintings, building websites, or spending time with her cat. She is also a member of the Amelia Island Writers and the Amelia Island Art Association. For more information, visit her website at www.4pocalypsearts.com.