It has been a while. Almost twenty years. It’s not that I don’t like coming here. I do. It’s just I haven’t had the time. It’s not on par with Panama City or Daytona beaches, but a pretty nice beach none-the-less. It’s not warm most of the year like those places. That’s because Saint Eldridge Islands is much further north. The fog makes it mysterious. The water smashing against the rocks, the rays of sun filtering through the haze bring back memories of when I became lost. It was my first visit there.
I simply wanted to look over the edge and below the cliff. And so I moved further into the fog. Closer to lie down and look to where the rocks and ocean warred. The water not to be pushed around. The rocks informing the water it was formed first. I focused on the edge but the closer I got the less I was able to see. The streams of sun that partially lit my way had been swallowed up by the rising fog.
The wind picked up and shifted. Instead of blowing sideways, it was pushing me from behind. I was seven. From my perspective, I was old enough, strong enough and smart enough to handle myself in any situation. I was not. Curiosity got the best of me that day. I was told not to go near the cliff. I found out the hard way why. I snuck away zig-zagging between boulders and climbing over crags. Quietly I drifted into the mist and drizzle. Arm and arm with curiosity. A skip in our step and her laughter in my ears. Bright smile and shining eyes. Come on it’ll be fun. I swore she said through the whistle of the wind.
With every step, the wind, rain, and fog made their presence known. A new set of friends I was glad to know and who were determined to know me. The sun was shy. Or so it seemed. More likely late to the get-together busy with other things. I could see it in the distance its rays waving through the mist. In no hurry. Enjoying the journey. Simply on its way.
It’s few beams stirring up joy pushing away any dread. The dread that would have told me to take a quick look and move on from there. The vibe that would have focused me on the reality of my surroundings. Beautiful but deadly. What more was I to see, but more of the rocks with the sea, the wind, the rain crashing in around them?
But curiosity. She was persuasive. Encouraging me that everything was fine. So we trekked arm in arm and the fog grew thicker behind me concealing my way back. In the moment I couldn’t care. All I wanted to see was in front of me. I came to the edge, looked to the horizon, stumbled and fell. That’s how I came to know the black rocks and the whitewater below.
Not by kneeling, squatting, lying down taking in the view from above. I fell. I had looked to the ray of light that had weaved its way through the fog, blinding me. I snapped my head away closing my eyes. And now that I recall I felt a tug on my arm. Curiosity. She pulled me off this cliff. She along with the wind, the rain, the fog, the sun, the rocks, the sea conspired against me.
I was drifting through the drizzle, tumbling toward the rocks. I saw no place I would land that I would see a new day. No place I would survive after I crashed. All I can remember is what I saw from up above. Whitewater and black rocks battling for supremacy.
I opened my eyes. I saw a haze of dark green with tiny particles floating around. I was underwater. I felt no pain besides the sting of landing sideways and upside down. I don’t know what it was. I missed falling among the war mother nature’s children were waging. My back could have been broken. My head cracked. My body washed away by the powerful turbulence. It could have been my end but death was denied.
Then I felt a tug at my arm. Before I knew it I was cresting the sea. Back among the rain and the rocks. The fog was fading, the wind had died and ripples were pushing in around me. Curiosity, whispering in my ear, reiterated. I told you all is well.