setting out for the long drive there, i settle familiarly into the passenger seat with a writing book, two photography books and a pile of magazines. three miles in and i’ve been updated on what kourtney kardashian is craving, how long us readers predict renee and bradley will stick together and who wore armani’s latest the best. i ditch the magazine and opt for the writing book.
the ride is quiet but for the sounds of the dvd in the back and the boys’ random laughter at all the funny parts…cueing lainey to interject her own laughter with a precise two-second delay. she doesn’t exactly know what she’s laughing at, but if her brothers think it’s funny…it must be.
a monster truck with scantily-clad-women mudflaps rolls along two cars ahead of us. pulled behind is a rusted twin engine boat, sloppily painted with Team Nauti Boys. i imagine they are headed out for some sunday fun for sure.
i notice for the first time all the panther traffic signs along the way. official yellow road signs with panther silhouettes as if their crossing is as ordinary as the common pedestrian. i’ve never seen a panther cross these streets.
the trees get lusher and thicker as stores and gas stations grow more sparse. of course there is the oddly-placed outlet mall in the middle of nowhere that suddenly appears. i always expect it to be closed, but miraculously, it goes on…a few random cars parked in its old parking lot. i wonder exactly how many outdated suitcases the samsonite store sells each month. i imagine there are many a days when not a one customer shows up at this poor place. i also imagine that hell might be waking up employed at this very outlet mall…banished to the dingy walls of the dress barn selling frumpy green paisley sack dresses here on the most god-forsaken stretch of 951.
the green sign finally appears. isles of capri and a single arrow, pointing you far away from the dress barn…past the magroves, the bait store, the impressive marina for such a tiny island.
and we arrive.
and settle under shady umbrellas.
the tide is low.
the seagrapes droop.
the sea foam recedes, pulling with it broken shells and ‘beach pencils’.
it’s hot and my hair sticks to the sunscreen on the back of my neck.
but she’s happy.
transporting shovels of sand from the beach to the large blue bucket ready to float away at the edge of the tide…until finally, she’s piled enough sand into it to weight it steadily into the mud.
we spend most of our time partially submerged in the gulf today, its salty water stinging the shaving cuts i apparently acquired this morning. she floats and splashes as i eat cold cantelope from the chair i have half buried in the shallow water.
and later, we venture back to the hot sand to watch the boys dig deep tunnels.
soar the blue skies with daddy and austyn.
take a ‘crab walk’ with mama.
and smile every time one of our fish house friends comments on how we’re finally ‘showing.’
it’s a girl. we exclaim.
another baby to tote along for sunday memories…
to sleep in the moses basket on the old wood floor under the palm-thatched roof of the tiki bar.
and then, before the sun sets, we head home…
the drive home is always cozy as we huddle under beach towels, the air seeming a little cooler against salty, damp suits. it’s quiet again but for the random laughter…and two-second delayed laughter. i close my eyes and prop my sandy feet on brett’s dashboard. i take them down when he frowns at me.
and when we pull into the driveway, the herd exits wildly, running toward the pool where everyone jumps in to clean off sweaty, sandy, sunscreened bodies. i hear them all from our bathroom as i always opt instead for the more refreshing waters of a real shower. a long shower with a clay mint mask and deep conditioner. and after donning a warm nightgown straight from the dryer, i join them at the edge of the pool where we watch the sun set behind the woods…
…and baby lizards emerge from their hiding spots under mossy pool rocks to entertain little eyes…
and now the house is calm. quiet…but for brett’s football game in the other room and the dryer tossing a load of beach towels.
and the tea is finished.
thoreau may have wandered into the woods to live deliberately and suck the marrow out of life…
us? well, we have enough marrow right here.
sucking it, breathing it, sharing it…
*note: i forgot. i hereby give credit to brett for the pregnancy shots. he was proud of his work as he scanned the camera screen after the shot.
‘if this goes on the blog, you’re so crediting me,’ he said… …er, um…’humbly’.