We’d love you to meet Chuck Livecchi. To say he loves Fripp Island and has a way with words is an understatement. We’re thrilled that he’ll be contributing to our blog in the upcoming months. And now, without further ado…
Hi. My name is Chuck. Please allow me to introduce myself as I hope we will be spending more time together. And who knows, perhaps one day we will be Fripp Friends or neighbors. I am a journeyman entrepreneur. I am neither outstanding, nor greatly accomplished. Thus far my journey has taught me that relationship is the greatest value we can create. I am something of a hopeless romantic. I do easily get lost in the stars, but don’t take enough time to do so. I fancy myself a writer. I ponder real life and interweave fiction. Largely because that is how my mind works. Here one second, then lost to curiosity. I’m just a normal man who is greatly loved. Journey with me.
Finding Purpose – by Chuck Livecchi
Prior to a recent vacation to Fripp Island South Carolina, I was ready to find my own life. Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the life I have and have lived thus far. I am blessed greatly. But still I believe there is a greater calling for my life. A beckoning that was placed in my very being before I ever was. I didn’t necessarily know what it was, but I felt the pull. I was looking for direction. This is what I hoped to find during my vacation.
Fripp Island is a place where my soul finds rest. It is located in the Low Country of South Carolina, it is the dead end of Highway 21, the last island on a series of islands. The Low Country is home for me. Not that I was born there, but it has always been part of my heart, it is where my wife was born and raised.
Being married 26 years and traveling often to Frogmore (a southern charm just outside the Low Country gem of Beaufort SC) I have heard many local stories. I’ve heard about good ole boys and their loyalty, the growth and complaints of too much traffic and the great respect for the military. Two important bases call Beaufort home.
Stories that stand out for me are those of my wife being a teenager. Sneaking out of school and down to the beach. Sneaking friends onto Fripp Island in the trunk of a car (hey… times were different). Playing hooky on the miles of beautiful beaches at this tropical paradise.
Sure… you might say I have lingering jealousy.
Yet of all the stories that have been shared, something special happened this time when we visited Fripp. For the first time in her life my wife experienced something for which Fripp is well known. Together, we watched a nest of loggerhead baby turtles emerge from their nest and make their way to the ocean.
This was a life moment. And great encouragement for me.
The story is told through the struggle and triumph of baby loggerhead turtles.
Loggerhead Turtles on Fripp Island
Loggerhead Turtles are one of the many sea creatures and wildlife that call Fripp home. These amazing turtles live 50+ years and grow to more than 300lbs. What I find most fascinating is their life journey. The few female baby turtles that make it through the wiles of the water, will return decades later, to the same beach, to give life to the next generation. The mother turtles which lay their eggs on Fripp Island, were born on Fripp Island 20, 30, and 40+ years ago.
Stay with me on this, because we witnessed the very first part of this journey and it is inspired.
Typically in early May, the first nest will appear on the beach. A mother will leave the ocean, head toward the sand dunes, pick a spot she deems worthy, dig a hole in the sand and lays her eggs. Often time the nests will have more than 100 eggs. When she has laid her eggs, she returns to the ocean. She will do this 5–6 times again this year. The baby turtles will not see their mother.
Many weeks after the eggs are laid, they hatch. The baby turtles, having just emerged from their shell, find themselves buried in 18 inches of sand. Something within them says, “Dig”. So they dig. Upward. Toward what, they do not know.
As more and more eggs hatch, the nest begins to “boil” and the sand compacts around the hatchlings. One by one the baby turtles crawl out of the nest, with each movement of their flipper placing more sand on siblings below. Once triumphantly emerging from the inexplicable trials of an early life, they continue with purpose. The ocean calls.
These baby turtles, smaller than the palm of your hand, with flippers the size of the fingernail on your pinky, set course with mission. Something is calling, speaking to them, from deep within their being they know they are destined. So across the beach they march. One by one.
Between the nest and the water is hundreds of feet of beach. The tide is low making the exercise more difficult, but this is necessary. The newborns are undeterred, their efforts purposeful, hope is evident.
Rarely stopping for a short break, the turtle moves forward. Each inch requiring many steps. Each step leaving a trail revealed by the setting sun. Night is upon us.
Waves, ripples really, begin to tease the baby turtles. You can feel the anticipation each time the water nears. It has arrived, almost. And almost again.
Having been born under the weight of earth, freeing itself from captivity, traversing across a great expanse, you can tell, the baby knows where it belongs. And it is near.
A few more steps and it will be 20 to 30 years before we see this turtle again. Once the baby enters enough water, it is off to the races. No more tests to pass. The baby swims away with swift purpose.
As I watched this journey I thought to myself, it is the struggle for life which strengthen and prepare for destination. Sure enough, the turtle now faces a number of new challenges. But it is now where it is supposed to be.
Which brings me back to my original story. Trying to find where I should be going. Hearing that call. The direction to go.
I think I heard it.
After witnessing the struggle and fortitude and determination, I pondered what I have been prepared for. What struggles have I overcome and where do I think I belong. What have I learned that I can pass onto future generations. What can I help plant so deeply that the value is known generations from today.
I do not yet have all the answers and probably never will. But still, I believe I know my place. I believe I know what I have been prepared for. I believe I know where I must go. I hear it deep in my soul.
I have been prepared to care and to lift up. I have been given valuable knowledge. I know the source of infinite wisdom. And I believe I know where I am to go.
Care to join me?