This morning was our most relaxed. With a cloudy sunrise I was in no rush to greet the day. We are on an island with two couples, two rangers (that we’ve seen) and other volunteers and contractors – living the life. We take a stroll around the island to see all the changes the high tide has brought. Waves have reached the tree line, more sand is on the moat wall, and more bricks have fallen into the sea.
We enjoy a simple breakfast while the couple next to us has fresh eggs, tomatoes, and meat cooked on the grill. Then we will head to the water where we, the three couples, all feel the need to get in just once – visibility is low and waves are high. The temperature isn’t bad and we read for a while and dream of calm waters that will allow us back in – there’s plenty more good snorkeling to be had.
Ten-thirty will come and go. It’s the scheduled arrival time of the catamaran that usually brings day trippers to the island. The seas have proved too high today. We will walk to the fort to get out of the sun and wind and read on a bench under a tree. As we are making our way out, another couple is coming in to eat their picnic lunch. The wind is stronger than we remember and we feel that we will be blown off the walkway that connects the land over the moat.
I’m ready for lunch as it nears two o’clock and find haven in the tent to prepare my sandwich. I can now go back to reading, The Source, the book that covers history from the caveman to the archaeologist that uncovers the old man’s artifacts – reading about stone tools, the job of Astarte’s priestesses, and the coming of Yahweh’s war in the past in contrast with an archaeologist at a dig falling in love with a pottery expert.
Caleb finishes his book so I will read to him for a while. We grow restless and step out of the tent to do some yoga, but upon seeing some of the other visitors on the dock and suspecting both couples to be out there we walk over to join them. Upon our arrival the one group leaves. We wonder if either couple was able to catch their dinner for the night and decide to walk around and leave the other men to their fishing.
As we walk upon the shore the water is warm on my legs and the ocean looks calmer. The sun is behind more clouds tonight than last and we are beckoned into the water. We grab our snorkel gear, but that doesn’t last long. I keep my flippers on to protect my feet from the coral and throw the rest up on the beach and then we swim from wall to wall and back again, a length of about 75 yards one-way.
I feel a certain comfort standing in the moonlight letting the wind dry my tangled hair while I only wear Caleb’s sweater so that we may dry our swimwear some before hiding it from the wind which is sure to carry more than that away. I feel a part of me could live here – and always will – in the serenity of sandy beaches, sunny skies, stormy seas, snorkeling morning and noon, swimming at night, and seeing sharks, sea turtles, starfish, seagulls, and shells that are empty and lived in.
I could learn to scuba, I could buy a kayak and a boat, and together we could explore all the islands in-depth – their coral reefs, their sandbars, their shipwrecks, their history. But tonight I will explore more of the 909 page book Dan lent me, more of the coral in unfamiliar places on my body, more of the hair on my husband’s body, and together we will explore the depths of the butternut squash soup that will be dinner.
Caleb decides to dream after his few ounces of soup. I will use its cool creaminess to sustain me through the next hour or two of reading. Outside the tent the moon is higher in the sky but seems as bright as the sun. It brings a magical feeling to the island – one that makes me want to bring my computer and puppies and books and fresh fruit and firewood and friends and live here for weeks or months or years – reading, writing, eating, loving, and exploring the corners of my mind and the tides of the Gulf of Mexico.