Today I found this dock as I paddled downwind, enjoying the glide home after a tough up and cross wind training paddle. As I paddled toward it, I saw a new rope that told me I was not the only one to find this spot. I cautiously paddled up to the dock, secured my board with the rope and climbed up on it. Carefully I made may way on to the shore, not wanting to surprise anyone who may have made themselves a home on this out island. No need to get shot today!
As I carefully walked, bare footed into a clearing, I saw something that made me happy and sad at the same time. There were lots of Australian Palms and the wind was whistling through them, the sound was so relaxing! There was a chair, sitting at the edge of a rather new camp fire pit. It made me happy to see that others had found this and enjoyed it.
As I looked around I felt very sad, not only had they enjoyed being there, they had left their trash, broke beer bottles, old cushions, yucky stuff….as I continued to pick my way into the little island I saw that it had a spot where a house once stood and old broken chairs, more trash and yuck. Having bare feet here was not a good idea! I resolved to come back with trash bags and do what I could to clean it up, after all this place is less then a mile paddle directly across from my house. The peace I felt there made me think that is would be awesome to go back there and sit a spell.
As I made my way back to the end of the dock where my board was tied up, I looked out across the channel, heard the cars rushing up and down the road and thought about what it must have been like to live in these islands years ago. This spot was not connected to the old road, it was and island just off of it. I sat on the end of this dock for awhile listening to the sounds of birds, the wind in the Australian Pines and felt connected to the islands in a way I had not felt before.
I am connected to these mangrove islands, my soul is fed by the salt water that rushes through them. The arthritic knuckles of my Great Grandmother Garret’s hands are shadowed in the roots of these mangroves. As I paddle through them, seeing the twists and turns of the roots fed by the salt water, the life forming around them, I am transported back into the 1930’s, feeling the strength of the women who have gone before me.
Stumbling across places like this is such a privilege, it is a window into the past that brings an understanding of how precious today is.