Island Time

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As the sun begins to set over turquoise seas, the energy at the outside bar begins to rise. A band sets up, red rum drinks decorated with slices of local tropical fruit occupy most hands and a breeze gently combs through the hair of visitors and curls around skirts causing them to dance without their owner’s involvement.

A night on Long Island in the Bahamas.

This island can only be reached by boat or small private plane – there is no runway adequate for a commercial flight. The island, as one may deduce from its name, is long. One main road runs it’s length with a few streets that branch off toward either shore.

There are no proper grocery stores or dress shops here. In our quest for a straw hat we drove the length of the island and stopped at various homes with pop up stores on the front lawns of the artist’s home.

What this island lacks in modern conveniences it makes up for in pristine sugar sand beaches and rocky white cliffs. A secluded cove invites us to swim its waters and meet the locals; sea turtles, brightly colored fish and corals alive with movement are visible from just below the surface. Near our house the remains of a poorly planned marina now forms a natural swimming pool fed by the sea itself, complete with tiny tropical fish.

A short drive – all drives are short on this long island – takes us to the rusty wreckage of a big ship, the remains of a wooden church and a monument to the aboriginal people.

On this island there is time to explore. There is time and a desire to listen to the stories of the locals about a recent hurricane that somehow slipped the notice of the news in the states. People here are neighbors, not strangers that happen to live next door. No one was lost, they took care of each other, moving those on lower ground up, helping each other rebuild when it was time. They took care of each other. They still do.

No matter where I travel, no matter what my experiences are or what I see, it’s the people that stick with me. The sunrises and sunsets are magnificent, the turquoise bellies of the seagulls as they reflect the water beneath, diving for conch and dancing with stingrays and starfish provided some truly magical moments, but it’s Miss Sue and the woman from whom I bought a hand-made hat that stay with me.

Miss Sue and I still email one another. She makes the most beautiful wedding cakes.