This sandbar was home to me for the first 18 years of my life, almost. Patti Page sang about it, people spend many summers there, and it gets romanticized a lot. Like everything, there is shadow and light here and I only remembered the darkest parts for a very long time. I stayed away for decades, lost in the fear of reliving it all.
Last month, I flew in over the navy blue waters, seagulls coasting along with my plane, whitecaps flashing like diamonds, and all the good came back to me. Every day, for a week in September, the sun cast a beautiful glow and brought me treasure after treasure. As I write, I turn every reunion, every kind and encouraging word, every magical moment over and over, like seashells on the shore. Taking their beauty into my heart, and remembering.