Back in the day I was a rock climbing guide. I liked reminding my clients about the seriousness of our situation without further imparting any fear or anxiety. I’ve heard old men have stories. Well, I’ve got quotes, and there was one in particular that I used for this situation.

It was a poignant reminder to be heads up at all times and that even big rocks eventually fall. Day to day it reminds me of time’s persistent nature and intrinsic value. Aron Ralston even etched it onto Bluejohn Canyon’s sandstone walls before evading death by amputating his own arm. As far as quotes go, she’s perfect. Succinct. Emphatic. Enduring.

Geological Time Includes Now.

Edward Abbey in Desert Solitaire

We’re almost a year into a global pandemic caused by COVID-19. The enduring aspect of Abbey’s quote is more relevant now than ever before. Global pandemics don’t happen now. Global pandemics are reserved for antiquity. They’re historic relics from the dark ages far enough in the past that we meme about them.

Your riverfront neighborhood

Satellite images from 2002 & 2019

Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.
Drag the slider to see how AP has grown over the years.

I accept that our 2 year old will learn about COVID in a modern era context. We won’t share my distant perspective of what constitutes the spread of deadly virus but we will share, at least temporally, the experience of living through this unprecedented time. And my, oh my, what an experience it has been…

When it’s all over, I’m going to come away with a new perspective on space, literally and metaphysically. Rural Eastern North Carolina living has its perks during a pandemic, especially when it comes to being able to spread out. We enjoyed living in Raleigh, but neither my wife nor I miss an urban existence.

Your riverfront neighborhood

17 year timelapse from 2002 to 2019

Click the buttons to see how AP has grown over the years.

We were, and still are, so thankful for the opportunity to live, thrive, and survive here along the banks of the Neuse River. High Speed Internet has diminished, if not annihilated, metaphysical space limitations, diminishing formally restrictive geographical boundaries.

Modern dreams are made of boundless mobility, an intoxicating elixir that’s equal parts freedom, flexibility, and financial stability.

The Riverfront Beach

25 year timelapse from 1994 to 2019

Click the buttons to see the Riverfront Beach over the years.

Back in my climbing days, any especially challenging climb was referred to as a testpiece.  My parents would have called it a litmus test. Either way, 2020 was an epic testpiece and despite an improving situation with the virus, 2021 is shaping up to be another character defining year.

I’ve thought a lot about how I’ll approach things this year. The luxury of boundless mobility means I’m not obligated to embrace many of the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Ironically, the greatest detriment to this mobility has been isolation, especially during a global pandemic.

Preserving space is one approach to preserving time. Theoretically, if we preserve a space we’ll be presented with more time to enjoy it. The logic is sound but unreliable, as evidenced by the unfathomable volumes of sand relocated to and from the banks of the riverfront beach after a passing hurricane. The human efforts at preserving the space were genuine but futile in the end.

Burton Farms Village

Satellite images from 2002 & 2019

Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.
Drag the slider to see progress at Burton Farms Village.
There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…

Brutus delivers this speech to Cassius in Act-4, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

In the quote above Brutus speaks about the relationship between the free will and fate of human beings. He imagines we can influence them both, but it’s up to us to recognize when fate grants an opportunity.

The neighborhood effort to spiffy up the riverfront beach was an opportunity, albeit a futile one.

But was it futile?

If the goal was preserving the beach then yes, it was, but what if the goal was nurturing a relationship with a new neighbor? Or mending a strained relationship with a partner or teaching your kids or someone else’s something new?

The Riverfront Beach

Satellite images from 1994 & 2019

Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.Historical aerial imagery of Arlington Place, a riverfront neighborhood located along the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.
Drag the slider to see progress on the Riverfront Beach.

We seized the opportunity to relocate our family and businesses back to Pamlico County. Our former efforts in corporate America felt a lot like a manual beach renourishment project, tons of effort that could be wiped out in the blink of an eye. This was especially relevant since we’d both recently been part of right-sizing efforts. We saw the opportunity to be part of a community, we seized it, along with the fortune that followed.

I’ve equated true wealth with freedom of time for most of my adult life. What good is money if you don’t have time to enjoy it? 2020 reinforced this awareness and added another level to it.

Time isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Miles Davis

I’ve come to understand that for me, true wealth will be achieved only when I have both freedom of time and ample opportunities to share that time with real people in real life (IRL… learned that in 2020 too 🙂 ).

AP is more than our neighborhood, we’ve made it our personal proving grounds. It’s the space where we recharge ourselves and revitalize our personal and professional interests. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to live here. But we’re ecstatic about all the other opportunities that this one has created.

Investing in commercial real estate isn’t my thing, but a mentor once told me, “Don’t buy the building. Buy the business inside.” Their reason of course being the inherit increase in opportunities afforded by a company comprised of people, products, and procedures as opposed to a structure comprised of inanimate material.

Burton Farms Village

25 year timelapse from 1994 to 2019

Click the buttons to see Burton Farms Village over the years.

Robert Kiyosaki’s seminal piece on personal finance, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, belabors a similar point. He goes on at great length that the best way to be like “Rich Dad” is through wise asset investment. Valuable assets are the gifts that just keep on giving, regardless of our input.

When we decided to move to AP we decided to “buy the business”. Time will tell, but if a global pandemic hasn’t diminished the value of our choice (and it hasn’t), then AP is shaping up to be one of the best asset investments our family has made.