Saturday, September 3, 2022

Hilton Head Island: back


Eric Satie’s Trois Gymnopedies playing on my iPad Pro, which has acceptable speakers for the hearing impaired, on the screened porch.  The sound of an outboard vanishing in the distance, which is what all outboards should always do.  The calls of a few birds.  A cooling downdraft from the overhead fan.  Overcast sky.  Although no rain has fallen since we landed early this afternoon, rain is constantly in the forecast.  When I left seven weeks ago the Low Country was in a drought, having had half normal rainfall this year.  In my absence they caught up with the rainiest July and August on record.  As Carol drove us from the airport, we saw standing water beside the roads and that all the ponds and lagoons are at levels close to overflowing.

I am very glad to be here.  No.  I am profoundly glad to be here.  In SHADOWS an Asian mother who has reason to believe her young adult daughter has been betrayed by a foreign soldier and become a bar girl returns to a dock where she finds the solace of water.  My phrase.  I saw an article online a few days ago claiming science proves what I already knew.  Lake Forest is very wealthy, very convenient, and Lake Michigan is only a mile away.  But here I am again in a world  of water.  In fact it is a world about half land and half water, but water is stronger, and from where I sit dominates.  Skull Creek looks like a lake, but it is an arm of the sea and GANNET could sail from her slip to anywhere in the world.  That pleases me.

It is mostly quiet.  

While I have been typing Satie has ended and a low thrumming tug has passed pushing a barge south.

I do not think that as Tim Henry stated I have been seduced by comfort.  I may after all these years and all those voyages and a lot of scar tissue physically and emotionally  be entitled to a little peace, and I have no quilt sitting here listening to beautiful music, sipping Laphroaig, and looking out at Live Oaks and Spanish Moss and Palmeto Palms, and the marina, where I see the top of GANNET’s mast—I will walk down and visit her tomorrow—and Skull Creek.

It is hard to go your own way, as it should be.  Perhaps even more now when hype has become the accepted norm and the number of followers on social media the measure of success as well as  a source of wealth.  Some may recall my noting Gresham’s Law:  the bad drives the good out of circulation.  In more than currency.

So I sit here in peace with myself—at least some—taking satisfaction and quiet pride in how I have lived my life, even knowing it might all have been set in my genes at birth, very glad to be here in my unexpected home, and looking forward to what I might still do, if given time.

I wrote to Tim Henry that my will might fail.  I was wrong.  My health might fail.  My will won’t.


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