Friday, August 13, 2010

The Island

It's difficult to describe the parts of the world that hold a little more magic than the other parts. The magic is in the air. Of course, you can't see the magic. Air doesn't have a color of it's own, although it is perfectly capable of borrowing color from other sources, as you will later see. Some of you already think I'm talking crazy, but if you have been to one of these more magical places of the world, one of those places where you are certain God must have taken a little more time dreaming it up, then you know what I'm talking about. You also know what I'm talking about if you have read The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis, but magic is another blog topic altogether.

I'm trying to describe the place I vacationed last weekend. Little Gasparilla Island is a tiny barrier island off the west coast of Florida (Tampa side). Here is an aerial photo:


Little Gasparilla is about a 15 minute boat ride from the mainland. It's long and skinny, and situated very closely to Gasparilla Island, its big sister. I can't speak for that big sister, but the little sister is enchanting.

We arrived on a hot, miserable Friday afternoon. Our Little Red cried the entire boat ride across the bay because he didn't care for the heat, the life jacket or the delayed nap. As soon as we docked, the crying stopped. (I say it was the magic.) We were greeted by a flock of fiddler crabs at the end of the pier, waving their hellos to my sleepy son. We loaded the golf cart with our luggage, and took the short walk to the beach house where we'd be staying. Even in the heat, I was already falling in love.

We took it slow that afternoon. Micah napped. The boys rested. I rested and explored a little. I discovered that you can hear the waves pounding the sand from the front porch of the little house.


I discovered that the front yard was home to a fair sized gopher turtle.


I discovered that the walk to the beach takes less than one minute, and that I had more fingers than beachmates on this island . . .


and that's including the birds.

The only sensible thing to do about meals on the island is to bring them to the island. My uber smart and experienced friends began meal planning back in June. They knew they'd be planning around a daddy with Crohn's Disease, a mommy with a ridiculous list of allergens, and a baby who can be a little tricky to nourish at times. Danielle and Ryan did a great job with planning as you can see . . .

Danielle's dad graciously took my husband and Ryan out into the bay to catch the dinner you see in the second picture. Brandon loved the fishing, and there is something fulfilling in bringing home the bacon, frying it up and feasting upon it, even if it's fish instead of bacon. That dinner was shared by us, Danielle and Ryan (our sweet friends who brought us out there), Danielle's family, their friends and their college Sunday school class. Sharing good food with old friends and new acquaintances you will be spending eternity with . . . well, that's fulfilling, too.
Other magical moments include:

Feasting upon mangoes grown on the island.
Spending a rainy day out on the screened in porch, alternately reading and napping, listening to the ocean and the pitter patter of raindrops hitting the roof and sand in the background of our dreams . . . taking in the briny scent of the island air . . . the cool breeze caressing our skin.


Watching a storm approach, yell, "Sike!" and then dance around us . . .

Shell hunting in between storm cells . . .

Observing Micah as he makes peace the with the sand that threatens his balance, and as he makes friends with it later . . .Staying up late to talk with friends, and rising to a lazy morning and a big breakfast . . . .

Kurt Pendergrass's amazing vanilla lattes made out of Puerto Rican coffee and goat milk (just for me!) . . .

Micah's long and peaceful naps . . .

The outdoor showers . . .

And finally, the most magical moments of all . . . gathering for the sunsets . . .

and the sunsets themselves . . .




I wrote a poem about those sunsets, but it doesn't do them justice. I'll share it with you, anyway--

There is a certain sense of serenity
at sunset on the beach.
Splendor in abundance
from sputtering sea foam to eternal sky;
blues and greys, gold in rays
spin purple, rose, scarlet, fire in the heavens.
Fire in the heavens should not be,
but clouds and sea sing it it back to me.
Lovely echoes, the final throes of day
giving way to new music.
And with a sigh,
that fiery sphere sinks like a stone
into its bed of sputtering sea foam,
conceding into afterglow.

-Melissa Keaster 8/13/10


When you finally leave a place this magical, you carry a little of that magic back home with you. As I sit here writing this, reflecting upon last weekend, my heart beats in rhythm with the waves, and my eyes pool with sea water. And if I close my eyes, the salty drops drip down my face, but I can see that final sunset, smell the island air, hear the ocean lulling me with its steady, "hush, hush, hush," and feel the warmth of knowing that heaven will somehow be better than this.


5 comments:

Joel said...

"Like". No, not adequate. "Love" this. Thank you, Melissa!

Huntinguy said...

Excellent writing and beautiful pictures Melissa. Your blog reminds me of just how badly I need some vacation.


We miss you guys.

MelissaKeaster said...

Thanks, Joel. I loved that place! We are going back!

Eddie--We miss you TOO!!!You are always welcome at Hacienda de la Keaster. It's the hottest bed and breakfast around.

Gloria said...

Awesomely beautiful - every picture, every vowel and consonant. Through your words, I hear and see God's work. thankS! :)

Melanie said...

Astounding words and glorious pictures. Makes me long for our eternal home and grateful to the Lord for smiling on the Keasters during this magical time as he did six years ago today for that surprisingly cool, beautiful wedding day. Mom