Legend has it that an infamous pirate held his hostages or his women here for ransom. That the Americans who invaded Cuba during the Bay of Pigs trained here for the invasion. That this was the only point where the Native American Caloosa tribe triumphed over invaders, fighting them off to retain the property for a few more decades. That the wife of an American hero wrote her beautiful, melancholy hymn to womanhood while nestled in a local cabin. That at sunset, on special evenings and special days, if you are very lucky, you can see St. Elmo’s Fire, a green flash of light from the point at which the tip of the sun hits the surface of the Gulf of Mexico’s horizon.
All of the legends may be true or not: I simply know that I am captivated by this island. It is my place of rest, rejuvenation, creative inspiration. It has seen me come and go through years of change: budding into my teenage years with my best friend, sailing through college visits with a boyfriend, resting from the real world during my professional career. I waited out my husband’s rehabilitation on island, I recovered from a heartbreaking loss. I fell in love and I fell back out of it here.
Today, I leave my island after a week of reading, resting, eating and walking.
This morning, I took a long walk along the mostly deserted, early morning beach. A coffee klatch of sandpipers greeted me, wavering in their enthusiasm with the coming and goings of the tide.
The shells gleamed and flashed beneath my feet as the waves splashed and gurgled onto the beach. Tempting to stop, stoop, sort and steal a few more, just a few more, one even, for the collection. A white coral, a common abra, a pink striped calico clam. Evidence of small lives lived and gone. The beautiful remainders.
Diamond rectangles of water endlessly enduring into curling waves. Incessant susurration. The beach is eternal even though I am not.
For today, I am thankful for the blessings of this beach. This place. This time.
For tomorrow, I hope to return.