Watching from afar and worrying about the coast that is permanently lodged in my heart as my homing spot. Growing up in South Louisiana, about a half hour from the marsh and beach that form the Louisiana coastline, some of my earliest memories are of times spent crabbing, spying on alligators basking in the sun, and avoiding cows on the beach. It's not a touristy spot with the oil rigs on the horizon, the gritty, brown sand, and trailers used for hunting/fishing camps. It's an area that has taken repeated beatings from hurricanes, erosion, and pollution. And yet it is also an area populated with tenacity and determination. Vegetation and creatures that have endured. Families who have re-built higher. Shrimpers, oyster farmers, and fishermen who have clung on to their tenuous livelihoods. That's the Louisiana part of the Gulf Coast that I hold dear.
And then there is Navarre Beach, a barrier island on Florida's Gulf Coast. It is the place I escape to in my head when I am seeking comfort and joy. I have shared posts on our annual family trips to this narrow piece of paradise. It's white, sandy beaches and warm waters are woven into the fabric of our family. Intense weeks of re-connection between four generations of my family...card playing, beach combing, story telling, Cajun dancing, and maintaining the threads that tie us to together. We keep track of our weeks in our "Florida Book". It is essentially a family journal filled with moments from the week, wildlife sightings (dolphins, sting rays,black skimmers nesting), and water reports (jellyfish year? seaweed soup or crystal clear?).Over thirty years in that "Florida Book" of ours and I want my kids to be able to write in it with their kids. But right now it all seems so fragile in the face of this massive storm of oil that is approaching.
Today is my mom's birthday. My birthday wish is for her, but for the rest of us, too. I am not going to jinx it by saying it out loud, but I am sure you can guess what it is.