And Mr. Moon said, "Let's talk about it after coffee," and after coffee we figured we might as well. I mean, there really can be too much relaxing if you want to know the truth.
We'd done all of the Dog Island things we needed to do. We'd eaten too much and had plenty to drink and played cards and laid around and taken naps and been sweet and lounged in the bay (for what THAT was worth) and it just seemed like a good idea to come on home.
I missed my cats and chicken and oh, okay, my grandkids too.
Jessie sent me this picture this morning.
August is standing up all on his own although he shows absolutely no signs of wanting to walk. I've never seen quite this sequence of development, but there you go. August is his own man.
We've been talking about our place on the island and whether it's really wise to keep it now. We bought it almost eighteen years ago and let me tell you- the difference between being forty-five and being 63 is pretty huge when it comes to a place where you have to pack in all of your needed goods. We used to go there a lot and we've had some amazing times there but things change. Hell, I used to go out there by myself and have a wonderful time and I could tote my ice chest and all my stuff and not really worry about it but now it's not as easy for any of us. And I used to be able to handle having the whole family out there (and of course, the family was much smaller then, pre-grands) but now the idea of sharing the place with a whole passel of other folks is so overwhelming. It's not big. And somehow, there's just never been time for us and our partner to get it together and do all of the repairs and make all of the changes we thought we'd make. Fixing the shower in the second bathroom. Replacing the old shag carpeted plywood flooring with new, more beach-friendly flooring. Fixing the side-deck which is now rotting off and completely unsafe to walk on.
Oh, the men have done plenty of things. Completely redigging the septic system and fixing the roof. And replacing the water heater and the air conditioning and the washing machine and dryer (I think- did we do that?) and all of the things that one MUST have, even in the most primitive of glamping experiences. Screen replacement on the porch has been done so many times that I can't even count. Ceiling fans have been replaced or installed where there had been none before.
But it is what it is and although the little house is comfortable in a shabby sort of way, it's never going to be easy and it's never going to be done. Not by us, I am coming to realize. The old couch and chairs which were there when we bought the house are ugly as sin and they are now on their second hippie Indian print bedspread incarnations and those now need replacing too as they are faded and ripping. I mean, there's a certain comfort in not worrying whether dirty and wet feet get on the furniture but there's also a certain sigh which I sigh when I walk in and see those ugly things. The bed in one of the bedrooms is almost completely unfit to sleep on and the one in the room we call ours has been rendered only slightly better by a memory foam topper. Still, after two nights on that bed, my old bones ache. And to replace these things would require bringing the new items over on either our boat or on the boat the island management keeps to haul things back and forth across the bay. Which is not free, of course.
It's a completely unique situation- owning a house on Dog Island. The privilege of having a place in Florida (or anywhere, for that matter) you can go where nature is almost entirely preserved, where there is absolutely no commerce, no pavement, no hunting or condos or swimming pools or street lights or any of what interferes with our interaction with nature as it is except for a few dirt roads, some wooden walls, electricity, and a place to take your garbage, is not to be taken for granted. This is not your typical beach vacation. You aren't going to be able to order pizza or hit the beach bar for daiquiris or call the rental agency if your dishwasher doesn't work.
No. You're going to make your own pizza if you want pizza (if your oven works!) and your own daiquiris (don't forget to bring the ice!) and I suppose some people have dishwashers but we certainly don't and as Mr. Moon said when he washed a peach off before eating it yesterday, "I'm not sure whether this is helping or hurting." You can certainly wash your body in the water and we've never gotten sick from washing our dishes with it but I use bottled water for cooking and drinking and brushing my teeth. It's like a third-world country but within a few unbridged miles of a first world country.
But. Where else can you sit and watch the sunset and the mullet jump and the osprey hunt and find shards of pottery and see snakes and butterflies and dragonflies and and hike through piney woods and down Gulf beaches and bay beaches and catch fish and crab for your supper and go to sleep on temperate evenings with the windows open and the sound of the waves crashing on the Gulf to lull you to sleep?
Well. I don't know. But I know that we're home and decisions like whether or not to keep the Dog Island property need to be made with the input of not only our partner but also of our children because if we do decide to keep the place, we're going to need their help and we're going to need to know that they want to be part of this thing. That having a place where they can bring their children to see and experience a piece of nature not available anywhere else is something they find worthy of the effort.
I'm glad that we bought that house on the bay because I know that all of my kids cherish the memories of the times we've spent there, both as an entire family and on their own.
Lord, I just wish we'd bought a place on St. George thirty years ago when a regular person could possibly afford a cement block shack on the beach which would now be worth gazillions simply for the land and we could be all civilized and shit and drive there in a car and yes, order pizza and hit the beach bar and if the dishwasher quit working, call a plumber.
Anyway, we're home now and all is well and I've got some extremely sensible zipper cream peas and green beans with onions simmering on the stove and Maurice let me hug her when I got home although I know she hated every second of it and I've got laundry going and tonight I'll take a shower in water that doesn't stink and brush my teeth with water from the faucet and sleep on a most comfortable bed and tomorrow I am going to go hang out with that August Man Boy who is standing on two legs while his parents work on some raised bed gardening. I realize with all of my soul that I am beyond lucky to have the choices that I have to make.
And I have to admit that I am rested and relaxed from my most recent trip out to Dog Island, Florida where right now the cicadas are cranking up and the sun has set and left the sky with every day-glo color there is and the light is magical, pink and orange, and the tide is going out and no one cares whether I am there or not, my presence nothing but a slight disturbance in the atmosphere.