Saturday, March 15, 2008

When The Sun Is Not Shining

The daughter is suffering a little from boy-trouble, and her heart is, if not broken, a tiny bit cracked. This girl has a naturally sunny disposition and she is almost always cheerful and happy, so it’s painful for me to see her unhappy and unsettled and in so gray a mood.
It has been overcast on the island today, too, and that doesn’t seem to be helping. We took a long walk this morning on the bay and Gulf beaches and through some swampy parts of the island and we saw lots of shells and birds and raccoon trails and a man wading in from his boat, hauling something, a battery perhaps. There is always something to see on the beach and yesterday we saw a tiny, dead bonnet shark and also an incredibly prehistoric-looking fish, perhaps a gar, dead and lazily swishing back and forth in the movement of the bay tide, it’s tail looking exactly like that of a platypus, only less fleshed out. We saw him again, today, still there, with less meat on him than he had yesterday, but that tail was still there to wonder at.
But my daughter’s heart wasn’t so much into it today and it’s odd, the sparkle having disappeared from the water and from her smile at the same time.
Being her mother I wish, of course, that I could make it all better and take away any pain she may ever feel, but I know I can’t and she does too. This is the child who told me when she was about twelve that my kissing of her boo-boos when she was young hadn’t really helped them at all, but she had understood why I did it and hadn’t wanted to hurt my feelings by telling me.
She is nothing if not a realist, but in the sweetest way possible.
And I can no more cure a case of low spirits than I can bring the sunshine back from behind this dark curtain of clouds it’s hiding behind but I can be here to listen if she wants to talk and I can tell her that her life is going to be completely full of love and wonder and adventure but she already knows that. Just as she knows that she’ll have to go through some pain to get there at points along the journey.
And just as we both know that the sun will be back out tomorrow and if not then, perhaps the next day and that even under a cloudy sky there are treasures to be found on the beach, mysteries to be wondered at.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Dog Island, Florida

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