As I turn the perfect seashell over and over, studying the intricate patterns of design and color, I marvel at the miracle in my hands. Equally stunning is the fact that piles and piles of countless shells in various shapes and sizes cover the powder-white beach. Where did they come from?
I scan the crystal turquoise waters for some clue of their origin. A pelican skims the ocean just beyond the breaking waves so skillfully that the tips of his wings appear to tickle the water’s surface. A glance down the beach reveals that I am, once again, alone in this marvelous paradise. That is, if you don’t count the dozens of friendly sand pipers and sea gulls that have landed by the sea to rest. They are so unafraid of my presence that I begin to wonder if they’ve ever seen a human up close. As I ponder these and other matters, I begin to sense the real magic of this oasis called Palm Island Resort: My thoughts are far from everyday man-made stresses and worries. Every time I come here, I find that the incredible beauty of the creation around me causes my mind to focus on the truly important questions of life.
Palm Island Resort is located on the end of a Florida barrier island between Sarasota and Fort Myers. This is my fourth trip in six months, and I’m becoming addicted to the relaxing effects that the fresh ocean breezes and seclusion have on my brain. On this particular respite, I’m alone, staying in a charming condo that sits right on the beach. Normally I bring my 15-year-old daughter, who delights in the starry nights, the warm Gulf waters, and the abundance of wildlife as much as I do. The last time we were here, we took a walk on the moonlit beach down to the point of the island and waded in the water as we rounded the tip to a dock on the bayside. We lay flat on our backs and gazed up into a canopy of a zillion stars scattered across the sky in a brilliant display of lights. We whispered softly about everything -- and nothing. These are the moments a mother craves. When I am on Palm Island, every moment becomes a treasured memory.