We are back in paradise, and drinking in the landscape of an island that begs to be admired.
The creatures here are innately calm and not easily spooked. They seem to instinctively know that they are protected here, and safe from the harshness of other worlds. They croon and caw, with no thought to being hushed. Yesterday the girls and I witnessed a raccoon walking down a crosswalk, and across a street. He stayed between the yellow lines as if he knew the rules, and hurried home to his tree. There was a sense by us that he was on familiar territory, and was minding his own business inside the bustle of noontime plantation traffic. Last Friday we spied a bunny in the back courtyard through the sliding glass. She was foraging for food just feet from where we gawked, with no care as to our intentions, she had only her job to contend with.
Fish gather under dark bridges and ferns, stealing the bread Liza throws to the turtles. Anhingas dry their wings in the hot sea air, paying no mind to loud strangers on the cart path. Squirrels jump from moss covered live oak branches, to palm fronds, as they chase and play, only stopping for short breaks to sniff and reject the cat food offerings of a pony tailed little girl.
The dolphins bounce close to the tourist laden beaches, the ghost crabs venture out of their sandy cocoons at sunset to fight and volley. The pelican sail in formation until distracted by circled schools of dinner. The herons share space with the golfers, the falcons with million dollar mansions, and the egrets with discarded golf balls.
We live a leisure life on this our paradise, and innately feel at peace and safe . together.
The man child is home from far away countries where children are alone on scary streets to make their own way, and orphans are given a cot to sleep on but not a hand to help them cross the street. They do not feel the sand in their suits from a well spent afternoon at the sea. Or have a momma to rinse their hair in a warm bath, and tuck them into crisp sheets, blessed with words of love and tender kisses.
The castles we build here are more solid then the assurances of their very futures, and yet it is hope that we strive so to give them, as we venture in person or in prayer to their places in our world.
Because not even the cosmetic beauty of an island paradise can cloak the lack of hope that every people group feels, be they wealthy or poor, in money, or spirit. We as christians have a hope to share, and the task of sharing it, even to those who do not even know they need it.