The tales of September 11 often speak of timing, split-second decisions and the life-altering consequences that follow. Everyday we are at the mercy of traffic signals and small choices that put us at points on the map at random moments. Mostly they are without tragic results.
This week I'm taking a break from gardening and writing about gardening. I'm spending some time in Savannah GA where my daughter's starting her fall classes of grad school. Today as I went to meet her for breakfast I passed the fire station on Liberty Street and noticed a gathering of firefighters and family observing the solemn anniversary.
Here I thought, I had been too busy this month delivering kids to colleges across the country to think of doing something in remembrance. I do think, probably too much about how things can change quickly in life. it's probably why I go the trouble of making sure these kids settle in and feel comfortable returning to school and their other lives.
Writers with their vivid imaginations always ruminate on morbid possibilities. I want my kids to know how much I love them. Just in case.
On a gentler note, the timing of traffic lights and our dinner choices resulted in a life-affirming experience we didn't expect to encounter this evening.
The day before we'd stopped by the Pig and Shrimp, an outdoor cafe that's only open 4 days a week, usually not the ones when we pass by. A colorful character named Gerald runs this unique venue that warns its customers that friends don't let friends eat imported shrimp. His delicious shrimp po-boy reiterates this fact.
We got to talking with Gerald and told him we might come back the next night to try his BBQ. But when we got there, after a string of red lights and a few minutes before closing time he was flustered and turning away customers because his help had failed to show up. We took our food to go so he could close up and then headed to the beach.
Sticky and gritty with sauce and sand we took our limeades (he makes a killer limeade too) for a walk down the beach. and saw a group of people gathering. It was hard to tell what it was all about; a prayer service,a beach wedding?
Turns out we were lucky enough to happen upon a Loggerhead sea turtle hatching and rescue. Daily volunteer patrols at dawn monitor sea turtle nests and often reolocate them to the slope closer to the dunes since the first slope of the beach puts them in danger. From May to October, 60 days from egg-laying they hatch and make their way to the sea.
They face predation from animals, habitat disruption from sea wall construction, confusion from lights on shore, fishing nets and a host of other obstacles to survival.
This particular group of hatchlings were affected by the wave actions of Hurricane Irene. Unfortunately the marine biologist was only able to find two babies alive. She pulled out lifeless little turtles suspecting that fire ants in the nest might be an issue as well. An unhatched egg resembling a leathery ping pong ball was pulled from the sand too.
The two babies were taken to the water's edge, enabling them to imprint the area and physical action of crawling. From there they have a two day swim to reach the warm currents of the Sargasso Sea. If they were females, and if they survive, 35 years from now, they will return to lay their own eggs within miles of this very spot.
Assisted by the voulnteers they were set upon the wet sand, then washed up and down the sand by the waves, one step forward and two back over and over until they disappeared into the surf at sunset.
Maybe there's some sort of symbolism there.