This morning on a desolate Atlantic sandbar peppered with gregarious pelicans, prehistoric stone and sand crabs, and ringed by looping ebullient dolphins in the blazing sun I reached down to my board short pocket, tugged the velcro strip open, and pulled out a small neon orange Rhodia notebook, and wrote a few lines in G2 Pilot green ink. All around me, wondrous fugue, beauty and life.
I’m on holidays, on Tybee Island, a sliver of sand off the coast of Georgia, near Savannah. For three years, Dyan and I have held our wedding anniversary here, partly because the beachhouse we rent takes dogs (and we have three), but also, or mostly because of the beauty of the place. Tybee is partnered with the oddly-named Little Tybee Island; odd because Little is bigger, and undeveloped. It comes in at over 6,700 acres of marsh, and a series of six hammock land masses the reserve of egrets, hawks, a few shy alligators, and the aforementioned menagerie of creatures, including some hardy kayaking campers.
This morning we toured with island’s lowtide lands with Captain Renee of Sundial Charters (a former architect and now part-time naturalist and painter) and her salty rat terrier, Fiddler Heights. For three hours we wended through the marshes, glided with the dolphins, escavated the beached stone crabs, and watched Fiddler take on unfortunate sand crabs. Surf crashed. A cerulean sky. Me: nubivagent. Floating through the clouds, writing in my head. Getting things down in my mind and occassionally down on the tiny leaf of a notebook.
When I travel I always take along a special journal or two, small and durable to take down notes on the fly. I’m not much of a narrative writer and my holiday farrago is even more shot through with holes and leaps. One minute I’m writing about the pregnant woman on the beach with her eight-week bellybutton protruding and encircled in a halcyon tattoo, another I’m writing about how immigrants leave home, but never leave behind their heart. I write down how people look, how they sound, what they do. Little details. Like overhearing a grandmother saying to her little granddaughter, “Here take this,” she said placing a small wooden cruicifix around the granddaughter’s neck, “When you’re in the sea, it will float all around you.”