Sep 4, 2012

A Wedding and a Funeral... Casey Key

I was in Florida last week and stayed at a place on Casey Key that was tiny, old, and right on the water. A motel from the 50's or 60's remodeled, my commute to the ocean exactly 25 steps. I was there the week before Hurricane Isaac came ashore in the Gulf Coast area. We had perfect days, calm waters and a stretch of beach practically to ourselves. To my surprise most of the guests were locals from all parts of Florida, they were regulars at this place.   

My objective during the 4 days: UNPLUG !  And I did. I read, swam, napped and read, swam and napped - and yes we had three evenings of glorious communion with the painters in heaven who created sunsets that were magnificent masterpieces. 

One day I walked the beach early in the morning, collected a bucket of shells and set out to create a tiny work of shell art. I have memories of collecting shells with my Dad on Coronado Beach in Panama and I've always loved loved shells. Imagine the beach washed up with millions of shells, I am not exaggerating. Casey Key was this way and I had all the time to enjoy the hunt, the review and the selection from every shape, size and color imaginable. 
Most of the shells were flat and fit in the palm of my hand, there were a few,  the spiral conic shape, each one with an untold story, most were cracked, or chipped with pieces missing. Each of these shells a tiny amor of sorts once protecting a mollusk or crustacean. Some were smaller than the circumference of a pea and they were perfect specimens with ridges, curves and shades of coral and purple, so so beautiful. 

Once I created the shell heart,  I kept watch over it during the day wondering how long it would last or how long before a passerby would disturb or perhaps I wished, would add to it. 

 About 3pm in the afternoon an invisible bus must of stopped at the hotel, 10 to 15 people descended on the beach at once and because I have "radar" hearing capabilities, I tuned into a conversation between a couple from the group and a wedding planner. She was detailing for the couple were they would stand for their vows, where they would pose for photos, etc. I thought, great we are having a wedding at the beach tonight.  The bride and groom eventually walked to the shore close to the water and saw the shell heart, the bride said something like, "look a heart just for us."  They proceeded to add their names in the sand to the bottom of the heart and take pictures.  As the wedding party all got closer to the water, they all commented on the shell heart and wanted to know who knew they were coming? It was fun to watch all their reactions. 

I had no idea this wedding party would show up; I was delighted that in a very random way I could contribute to the memory of their wedding day.  

That evening as we watched the sunset and shared the beach with the wedding party, about 100 yards on the other side of us was a large group of maybe 50 people, they all had candles and were singing, there was a guitar player in the mix. That celebration we found out was to commemorate the placing of someone's ashes in the ocean off Casey Key. So yes in one evening we had within 200 yards of each other a wedding and a funeral.  It was a touching evening, one I won't forget anytime soon.