(For little JVD, with hope that one day soon you’ll love this place where we met your wonderful parents.)

The clouds this morning were moving like I remember from mornings on Jost.  As if they were there by accident, randomly floating low and close to the sea in the early morning, with just a hit of the color of leftover moon mist showing.  The air in the morning is cool there, with that delightful promise of warmth that hits usually as the sun just peeks over the big hill that drowns its non-existent sorrows in Pull and Be Damned Point.  Never too cool for anything but a bikini and a sarong.

I’m not often an early riser these days when on Jost, even though I want to be.  I was on my first few trips there. I wanted to make the days as long as possible, so I could savor them.  There was no agenda – just be there for breakfast and dinner (if you chose) and that was it.

I liked the warm sand contrasted with the flow of water beneath my feet.  I would meander to the rocks at the east end of White Bay, to the path that leads up to Ivan’s.  Usually there was someone to stop to chat with – or not chat with, but just appreciate the sense of solitary camaraderie that the smiling silence between us would bring.

At the little cove, just there at the base of the hill, I would always find shells, tiny treasures that were barely visible.  I’d sit in the sand, poke around at the edges of the rocks, to find them, miniscule and perfect, just the kind my mother used to love so.   If I was thinking, I’d bring along a stray painkiller cup or try to drink my coffee as I walked so I’d have the mug to put things in.  If I wasn’t thinking, I’d fill my hands, or tie shells into the hem of my sarong

Pelicans liked to fish for breakfast around the rocks that jutted out into the bay.  They would sometimes sun themselves on promontories – never with wings outstretched, but bills down, meditative, looking like statues until they would choose to waddle to another location.  Graceful and graceless at the same time.

I would sit for a while and watch the morning.  People on boats would be waking, most a little hungover, all just moving with that slow cadence of blood that infiltrates every soul that finds itself in this slice of bliss.  First up on the boat makes the coffee.  No hurries.  No worries except the ones you brought with you, and those you can leave floating in the ultra-buoyant waters in front of Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar if you so choose.

Time has slowed and it just purely does not matter.  After a while, I would wander back to Sandcastle, fascinated by my own footprints in the sand, and how they fill with crystal water, and then vanish.  Just little slices of reality in a time that can’t be captured.  But the memory lingers, just as somewhere on this planet, the sand that for an instant formed my footprint still exists and still remembers that small pattern.