Venice has an international reputation for being THE city of water. But there are others. As Charleston expands into the marsh and swamps of the surrounding areas, building more parks, connectors, piers, and walkable bridges; the more it also becomes a city built on, and over, water.
I realized while working on another post about Charleston that my favorite thing about the city is not its historical character or even its wildlife. These exist elsewhere, nearby. What makes Charleston such a beautiful place is the necessary elevated roads that allow for a frequent inward gaze at the wildlife, downtown, and islands. While other cities are flat, wooded, or obstructed by construction, there are so many viewpoints in the Charleston area from which to observe Charleston's historic and natural beauty from a contemplative distance.
Unlike bigger cities, Charleston never fully consumes you in its belly. There is always a view across the harbor of a lighthouse or island fortress.
More sunsets are seen than missed.
While elsewhere it takes a special trip to see natural beauty or a conscious reminder to mentally revisit places you've enjoyed, Charleston gets in your face for attention. The longer we live here, the more meaningful daily views become as they're filled with associations and memories of lighthouse visits, palm-lined isthmus strolls, bike rides, and harbor walks.
Despite the horrible South Carolinian drivers and the frustrations of overhearing boatloads of ignorance about politics and social issues, it's really hard to be unhappy here.