"Legend has it, once your feet touch the sands of Jekyll Island you will always come back."
In a large extended family where seasons of life ebb and flow, those that make it to the island each year vary, except for the brothers and sisters. They come regardless.
It's their children who are having children and returning when they can to the island.
The return is nostalgic.
It's as if nothing has changed since the 60's, as my mom knew it. The 80's as I knew it.
The same Putt-Putt for me as it is for him.
We're still the only few on the beach. I squint to see the next set of chairs.
Yet we delight to fill the rent house with 17 of us.
Partly because we love each other. Mostly economic. Truthfully, a strange affection for loud conversations full of interruptions.
Grateful for the generosity of family, me and the boys exchanged humidity for fog.
One coast for the other.
The island, for me, is where I share my stories with him.
Where he sees in visual what I have spoken in word at bedtime.
The sight of a jellyfish rushes my painful memories of stepping on one for 'adventure' at the age of ten only to be soothed by my granny's tobacco against the burns.
The island is communal. Reminiscent of an earlier decade. Doors unlocked. Belongings left on the beach to run back to the house for lunch.
Though we are mere visitors, we feel like residents with each stay.
The island is temporary territorial. We think we are known on this island. We make our mark in the sand, so to speak. Yet, the tide rolls in and the mark disappears.
To the deer, the raccoon, the alligator, it is territorial. They are safe at this island, a state park. They are oddly respected and given priority to the golf course, the trash can, and the marsh.
The island is low-key. This would bother some. No traffic light. No night life. Only Whittle's which offers you a ceramic souvenir.
It doesn't bother the turtles who come to nest and return to the waters. If they can't return, they are treated like royalty on the island.
Nothing new to the island until the DQ arrived recently. And that's big news. So big that an uncle would lead the charge to bike there and back. Spontaneous runs late in the evening. All for something we have similar back home. Yet on the island it's different.
The island for this one is simply a location shift. The glove never leaves the hand.
He took appreciation for a backyard which he wasn't quite sure what to call it -
being he doesn't have one. It didn't matter.
The island is personal play. If it's the sand, pick up the sand pail. If it's golf, bring the clubs. If it's staying virtually connected, well, that's not allowed on the island.
The island is for biking. It's what you do.
It's how you see the place and escape from normalcy.
It's hard, they might say. It's tiring on small legs that aren't used to it. But remember that the island is communal. Sometimes it takes a village.
And sometimes that village needs a rest.
That rest on the island can be found on a bench with Sweet Shoppe delights or at Doc's with a sandwich or with a wordsearch puzzle or a book.
The island is for seeing. Seeing what is ahead of us and what we've just walked through.
It's for stepping back and capturing the big picture. The picture that creates more dreams and gains eternal perspective.
The island is for discovery. Some for the first time and re-discoveries for others.
It was on the island where it could be discovered. The art of listening. Of seeing from a fresh angle the treasure I have been given. Re-discovering family.