Thursday, May 7, 2015

Island Times

      I sprinted up the 186 steps at the mountain tower on Washington Island. Looked out and saw sailboats on the horizon and the foliage changing on the tree tops over on Rock Island. I leisurely walk back down those 186 steps and crack open a cold one at the bottom. Off to School House Beach where I tip toe across the rocky beach and take a head first plunge into the chilly, clear, harbor water and swim out to the orange raft. I pull myself up onto the raft and look back at the beach full of Islander's with umbrellas, coolers full of beer, fat dudes in bathing suits and kids building rock castles. My pale skin begins to burn so back into the chilled water I go. After a quick nap on the smooth rocks Kurt and I venture into the woods to throw the frisbee with Island Wheats in hand. We whip the disk in and out of trees, trying to run and not spill our beers. We're famished, it's time to get back to the cottage and max a sandwich. 
      I dream of the Island regularly. It's always been a home away from home for my family and the place I look forward to when the times are tough. Kurt and I scattered my fathers ashes up there, we have designated songs that we play from our iPhones when we're up there. John Hiatt and Van Morrison speak to you on the Island. Kurt even tattooed the Island on is ribs. 
      The Island doesn't change, and that's the beauty of it. I remember being shocked when Wi-Fi was added to the Dutch Mill and when a second gas station opened up. How I'm able to enjoy the Island has changed though. The days of me sprinting up the mountain tower stairs are non existent anymore. Tip toeing across the smooth stones at School House Beach won't be happening either. Baking myself on the orange raft and running through the forest, beer in hand, would be tricky. Coming to these realizations fucking suck. They suck. It's hard to put a positive spin on it because this place means so much to me. I've woken in the morning and just balled my eyes out because I hate this disease so much and am so damn mad that I can't do things I once was able to do. But where the hell does that get me? 
      Where I find Grace in this is that I was able to experience those wonderful times in the first place. My bond with my brother increased dramatically having our chats as we hit every side of the Island and had a Guinness at each point. I got to swim with Eliza, and anyone that has done this knows how much fun it is. I learned more from my Mom swinging on the swing at the Sunset than I did in any class. And the Island isn't going anywhere. I'll still be able to go up there and watch the sunset, sit in The Coop outside K.K. Fisk with Kurt and have a beer, grab a slice of pizza and watch the Robert Noble and the Washington steer into Detroit Harbor, and most importantly be with my family in the place we love the most. There's Grace in that. 
      Some day I'll join my dad up there. We'll be able to run those stairs and swim at School House together on the Island everyday with Jesus beside us. I can find Grace in that.

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