Southern Tip of Cat Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore – December 21, 2012
The island’s there, I swear it’s there, just to the side of the sun’s glare. I saw it. I saw it from the shore. I stood on my tiptoes and saw it, the glint of trees, hazy but there. Trust me, trust me, it is there and we must go.
But the wind, the wind, damn the wind. It is unkind, tricky, licking, biting at my back. This is a bad day, a fool’s day. The wind is lying to us, lying with its whispers, lying and we all know it.
These tiny ripples will grow, they will grow and grow every mile, grow bigger the further we’re out, grow into giants. And if they grow too big, what then, what then in the middle of the ocean? There will be no way back.
But the island, the island is there, the one on the maps, the start of the chain, the first one we dreamed about. It is real, it is there, I have seen it, and we must go.
It came like a mirage, the tops of trees hanging over the water, growing real, putting down roots, standing up on beaches. The giant waves came too, born of those innocent ripples, yanking at the hull, thumping, splattering water, punching at me, bringing with then that quiet terror of knowing I could not go back.
I didn’t look, I didn’t even glance at the shore again. It didn’t exist for me. My world became the island and its growing trees, its leeward face, its shadow hidden from the wind.
I slid onto the long crescent of sand and walked, walked then ran, ran with my arms flung out, ran to the tip of the land where the sea leaps to every horizon and you can stare out at nothing but blue with your toes hanging off the edge of the world.
I stood and stared and felt alive.
Then I saw a slight rise on water, a smear to the east.
Another island’s there. I swear it. It’s there and I can see it, I can see the old fort. It’s just a glint, just a dash of rock, but it’s there, sitting like a penny on a ledge. I swear, I promise it is there.
Trust me, trust me, it is there and we must go.
Side note: Thank you everyone who comments! I love hearing from people and it really pulls me through when I’m lonely. I’ve been terrible at responding, but I’m going to do a better job with that going forward. Just wanted to let anyone who has commented know that even if I didn’t respond, I absolutely read and appreciated your support and words! Happy New Year, everyone!