10/15I'm sitting on the upstairs deck at Deidra's house and the tide seems to be going out. Dark clouds hang over the Hampton River as some dolphins roll back toward the sea. There is not breeze, but it's cool enough to be wrapped in Poppy's sweater. Out at sea, across the horizon, there is a streak of whitish orange, so maybe there is hope for sunshine later. Someone is building a house next door, and the sounds of hammers and saws and all manner of power tools pollute the air. The birds sound annoyed, screeching more than chirping. Little Saint Simons is across the river and to the north. I don't have a good view of it from here, but knowing that it is in my field of vision is somehow comforting.
One April, I don't remember how long ago, but longer than 15 years, Poppy and I spent a weekend over on Little SSI, and it is among our favorite things we did together over the years. The only way there is by boat, and it's privately owned and therefore undeveloped. We had a naturalist all to ourselves and he showed us as much of the island as we could squeeze into a Saturday. We fought off mosquitos with spray and wore long shirts and pants and hats with netting. We saw dozens of alligators in shallow pools which we crossed on wood plank bridges, and being bird lovers, were disappointed that the woodstork rookery was off limits because they were nesting. We learned that there are too many sandpipers to ever remember, and we saw an oystercatcher's nest. It was just a little round and shallow bowl of sand, right out in the open on the beach. There was one egg inside, looking like and hors d'oeuvre for a raccoon or some other critter. We walked along the beach as the naturalist pointed out the birds which were migrating, and we were lucky to be there in April, when many birds fly south. Somewhere in my journals, there is a list of all the birds we saw. We went shelling on the beach and I found the most perfect Lettered Olive. It lives in a round glass bowl in the foyer in our house in Macon along with dozens of other shells all found by family members. We were fed a gourmet picnic lunch, and learned at dinner that the cook was a real chef with the requisite hat and all.
God, I love remembering that time. These three days alone have given me back something I can't measure or articulate. I am starting to feel a little stronger in my heart, not quite myself but moving in the right direction. Clint would be so happy. I just know he would be proud. If only he were here.