This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.
We reach the lighthouse at Tybee Island and decide to climb (slowly, for my sake) to the top. Once we’ve reached the summit, we enjoy the fact that we’re the only three there and stand at the railing in silence to admire the view of the Atlantic coastline.
“How does it feel to be in the presence of a real ocean?” I tease Jack, who has thrown his arm around me.
He turns his head back and forth as if scanning the scene. “Where?”
I stare out at the sea, gray in the winter, and wonder how many souls have found their way back home by the light of the structure in which we’re standing. I’ve only ever felt safe in the ocean, whether swimming at the shoreline or ensconced in a reliable vessel, but I can relate to being lost. Lately, though, that feeling of being disconnected—and all the fear it carries with it–hasn’t hung heavy over my head like it did a couple of short months ago. I wonder if it’s just the passage of time, my body’s acceptance of what it can’t change, but I know better than to believe that my current peace is purely biological. I look to Matt on my left, the brother who always seemed to wander and search, and see that he has found a spot to land. I feel Jack’s arm surrounding me, enfolding me in his warmth and providing for me now in so many ways. And I think of Mirabelle back home, the source of assurance and wisdom she has been in a garden that is far from complete but exactly where should be in its progress. I know that I am too.
We descend the lighthouse stairs a little while later and drive around the coast before we head further inland to have lunch at The Crab Shack. Over baskets of fried seafood, Matt and Jack continue their time-honored tradition of poking fun at me.
“I can’t wait for you to get married,” I tell Matt. “Finally we’ll even things out around here—another girl for my team.”
“Your side will still be at our mercy,” Matt warns. “I know way too much dirt on the two of you, and Jack and I will use that to our advantage in the gender wars.”
I sigh. “You’re so immature.” Then—“Does Elise have dirt?”