I’ve been walking her beaches since I was a kid, combing the sand for treasures I didn’t have to pay for or ask Mom and Dad if I could have. My little sister would feed flocks of seagulls, I would flush them. She would gather hermit crabs from the tide pools up by the rocks while I’d kick the foam at the water’s edge.
The first ten or so years of my life we vacationed on St. Simons Island in a tabby hotel. Every night we’d walk down the beach to the pier, sometimes in the sunset, sometimes in the purple dusk, once in awhile in the deep black of an ocean night, glittering with more stars than we’d ever seen at home.
Then we got a camper, and more importantly, our first family dog! Life had changed for the better! And we switched over to the neighboring island, Jekyll, for its Spanish moss draped campground so we could bring Molly, our collie, with us. Keeping the family together, so to speak. :) We quickly got used to massive, almost deserted beaches and the wild, close-to-nature feel that is Jekyll Island. We’d let Molly off her leash and let her run through the salt water and bark at seagulls, rarely needing to re-leash her because we were the only souls on the beach.
Later, as a teenager, my boyfriend’s family decided to try out Jekyll Island. And I went along as a guide :) Skipp fell in love with the place, and with me too, I guess, because he proposed to me there years later. Now we tent-camp there every spring.
Jekyll, and her sister island, St. Simons, are part of me…like skin, or a heartbeat. The mellow greys and blues and golds of the Atlantic are some of my oldest memories. So seeing the sight pictured above was jarring this past weekend. The hulking crane and dirty construction zone was grotesque against the pure, untouched beauty of the island. So harsh. So mechanical.
A bit of remodeling has been going on there for a few years now. And, though any change to a nostalgic place is hard to swallow, they’ve done a beautiful job with making the new construction work with the island. The parks are nestled among Palm trees and Pompas Grass, all the new buildings are low-lying and unobtrusive.
But that? ^
Come on! When is it enough?
And here is where it gets tricky for me.
I’m not an environmentalist. But I ache when I see a stand of trees mowed down to make room for yet another dollar store.
I’m not a big-business CEO. But I believe in the freedom to ethically build a big business if that’s your dream.
I’m not going to whine about the developer on Jekyll having enough money already, that he should stop greedily ripping up land. The ‘enough’ amount is between him and God. It is not my place to judge his motives or his bank account. Those things are irrelevant because I believe he has the freedom to spend his money how he wishes. To say, “You can develop two condos, two neighborhoods, and one shopping center and then you’ve met your quota” goes against the freedom I champion.
But it’s my island. And it becomes personal.
So I don’t know where to land on this one. Maybe the only place I can land is how I run my own ‘enough’. Work hard for what I need, but know when to stop. Use what I’ve been given….and to hold it with an open hand, ready to share it or let it go. And one thing I do know- change is impossible to stop. Even if regulation, protests, and petitions fence out “progress”, nature makes her own progress. Sand erodes over time. Change happens without any help from man.