Turtle Time

I have spent the past three days on Amelia Island, taking walks and resting. I’ve been fighting a cold or a sinus infection. I don’t know which — sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. All I know is that I’ve been congested, enervated, and had a tendency to crankiness. Even worse, I haven’t been feeling the thrill of this journey. In my defense, it’s hard to be wide-eyed with wonder for weeks on end (eight weeks so far!), especially if one is fighting to breathe.

Still, this has been a lovely place to roam around — walks on the beach and hikes through Egan’s Creek Greenway, a 300-acre nature preserve. On all those excursions, the biggest joy, besides the lovely scenery of course, was catching glimpses of turtles. Often they were shy and slipped into the water before I could get a photo, but a couple of times they stopped and pretended to be rocks. One fellow even posed for me.

Despite signs warning about the presence of alligators, I didn’t get to see one. The rustling in the bushes that I thought might be an alligator turned out to be a rabbit, but I did see a lot of dragonflies and one lone cardinal.

My idyll on Amelia Island is coming to an end. Tomorrow I head into Georgia. I hope I can ditch the crankiness and muster the enthusiasm necessary to make the most of the opportunity. There is so much to see and experience and be grateful for.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

The Atlantic Ocean!

A few days ago, when I couldn’t figure out where to go next, I got an email from a woman I didn’t know, inviting me to come stay with her on Amelia Island. I accepted.

I hear your sharp intake of breath at my foolhardiness, but such a visit is not as risky as it seems. The woman lost her husband two years ago, and between us there will always be a bond of shared pain and struggles for renewal after the devastating upheaval of our lives. Besides, I’d never been to that island on the east coast, and my goal for this trip had aways been to go all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The roads from New Port Richey to Amelia Island seemed a ridiculous mess of twists and turns from one highway to another, so I opened the Google maps app on my phone and followed where it led me — through orange orchards, past emerald fields where white birds grazed among black cattle, and onto forested roads.

I stopped for the night at a fifties era motel in Starke, and took a stroll on a red brick street lined with old houses and moss-draped trees.

Now I am having a picnic on the beach until it’s time to visit my new hostess.

And afterward? A zig through Georgia, a zag to North Carolina, and then west again.

But I am getting ahead of myself, anticipating future moments when this particular moment — my arrival at the Atlantic Ocean — is worth savoring.

I hope you are savoring your moment, too.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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