Thursday, February 18, 2010
Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts is hosting a new Writer's Challenge. Our subject is Our Favorite Place to Visit. Make sure to stop by and read all of the entries. This challenge brings out the best in all of us! This was an easy one for me, my favorite place to visit is and always has been St. George Island, Florida. As I wrote this, I began to realize that the reason it is my favorite place to visit is less about the location and more about the fun times our family has shared there.
St. George Island is a very small barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The closest town of any size is Apalachicola, a beautiful fishing village situated between the glorious Gulf and Apalachicola Bay. As you turn onto the bridge to the island, you feel lighter somehow. I'm not sure if it is the quality of the light, the smell of the breeze over the water or the wheeling gulls crying above. But it is a magical experience.
We have been visiting St. George for 10 years. It is a place where our family, scattered over different parts of the country, comes to reconnect and recharge. The cast of characters changes from year to year, but the wonderful times we have does not.
St. George is where I met my sister-in-law's cousin Skippy. A wonderful young man in his thirties, born blind and mentally challenged, Skippy taught me to remember the joy in simple things. He taught me that it is a blessing to raise your voice in song, regardless of your talent. He re-taught me the joy in just being.
St. George is where I met new nieces and nephews for the first time. It is where our daughter Caitlin grew to understand the bonds of family and the joy of acting like a goofy little kid when you are an incredibly serious teenager.
St. George is where we brought friends and "adopted" family members to revel in the freedom of no wi-fi, horrible cell phone reception and tv's that don't always work.
St. George is where I saw a sea turtle nest for the first time, and the drag tracks of that incredibly determined mother who worked so hard to lay her eggs where they would be safe. It is where I learned to turn out the house lights so that the little hatchlings would not be confused and would run to their home, mother ocean.
St. George is where I reconnected with my estranged father. It is where my father met his granddaughter for the first time. It is where I saw the light of absolute love in his eyes as he was surrounded by his adoring grandchildren. He told me once that the happiest days of his life were spent on this island with his children and grandchildren, after so many years alone. It is where we scattered his ashes when he died. It is where I believe he is finally at peace.
St. George is where I learned the most important lessons of all. To slow down and be still. To rejoice in the joy that is family, for all their faults and foibles. To truly appreciate the beauty of nature and the magnificence of simple things.
Posted by Kat at 8:25 PM