How to Live By the Ocean...

Ellen McGauley

A short time ago, I wrote a house story that... well, there's no other way to say it: Working on it sent rising, reckless waves of creativity booming through me. It's the same how music awakens some, theater does it for others. Dwellings do it to me. It doesn't have a thing to do with the right finishes or fixtures, appraisal value or square footage. These creative highs rest squarely with the people inside, who've managed to carve out a place of their own—a mirror image inside of four walls, reflecting personalities and presence, stories and drives. 


I love that.


Julia Lynn


In this case, my high came from Leila and Buff Ross—their home is pictured above ("Soul Cottage," April, Charleston magazine). But before it was theirs, the cottage belonged to his mother, Rose Mitchell. She was an artist who lived by the ocean until her death eight years ago—and I'm told she was the kind of gal who could build a deck onto her house as easily as she could throw pottery from her downstairs studio, who'd trek through the dunes and kayak along the coast. She knew how to live where she lived. She inspired others.


Over the weekend, Buff unearthed this poem, written by Rose. I assume it was tucked away somewhere in the house, waiting for the right day to be found. My bet is that it will land on a good many fridges and bulletin boards on the island and beyond... 



Top photo by Julia Lynn