I sat on the beach over a coconut that I’d just broken open. I’d never opened a coconut without a hammer or another tool. There was no hammer here at Secret Beach where I’d run away to be alone. I didn’t expect to find a coconut. I didn’t know what I’d expected to find on the north shore of Kauai but what I found was beyond imaginable.
Secret Beach is remote. I’d walked a half hour from my jungle apartment, through banyan trees, past the beach dog, a cat, singing birds, and a gekko.
I’d come a long way to make peace with several tragedies in my life which had worn me down. I needed to find a new me; I needed to rejuvenate. I was exhausted from family deaths, diseases, caregiving, and losing my beloved job. I thought maybe a month on an island, alone, would heal me. After all it was called the Home of the Healing Spirit of the World.
In fact, it was my birthday when I arrived. I’d rushed to the sea before doing anything else; I couldn’t wait to find Secret Beach. I’d seen it from Google Earth but that was a digital image. When finally I made it through the jungle, I was astounded at the scene — cerulean ocean, balmy breeze, swaying palms, white waves crashing over giant rocks. I shivered in awe of this majestic Pacific panorama and at my gratitude being in this paradise.
No one was in sight. It felt surreal, this scene, like it had been painted just for me on my birthday. About a mile down shore I spotted an old lighthouse. I started walking, footfalls sinking into wet sand. I found a single delicate sand dollar as I made my way past huge ocean rocks that looked like a gathering of gray elephants.
In the distance was something colorful. As I moved closer I saw it to be something made of beautiful bright hues. I thought it someone’s forgotten towel. I came closer, then expecting to find a swimmer, coming soon to dry off. I got closer and then to my amazement I was standing over the lovely towel, which wasn’t a towel. It was a blanket and it held a tiny baby. A live, breathing baby!
She was about three months old, pink skin, long eyelashes, curly hair with a bow.
I scanned the beach, up, down, for the owner of this baby. No one was there, in the water or on shore. The baby was alone. She looked like a sleeping angel. She did not move but was completely serene.
I took a photo of her with my phone. I settled in the sand beside her and tried to figure out what to do. How could this be – a baby on the beach wrapped in a gorgeous blanket? What if she woke up? Would I touch her? I decided to trust. Trust that nothing bad had happened. I decided to not worry, but just to be… be with this special baby.
As I sat gazing at her I thought of my own children. They had been beautiful babies. I wondered if I had been a good mother. I became completely immersed in the past, remembering my three babies. How I loved them, how I missed them. I began to cry big salty tears.
I heard splashing noises and saw a woman rise up from behind one of the elephant rocks, like a mermaid. I could only see the top half of her. She had been completely hidden, snorkeling in a tide pool. She came toward me, smiling, as stunning as any goddess.
She tossed her long wet hair and laughed, showing me a handful of tiny shells she said she used for making jewelry. She found them every day after the tide went out. She, the baby’s mother, turned out to be the housekeeper of my apartment.
“Would you like some fresh vegetables?” she asked. “I can bring them, from my garden.” I must be dreaming. A baby on the beach, with her flawless goddess mother.
After mother and still-sleeping child left, I walked high on the shore and found the coconut near the lighthouse. I tried to break it open, first throwing it against banyan tree trunks, several times. It wouldn’t crack. Then I got the bright idea to slam it against one of the big elephant rocks. I threw it as hard as I could and, at last, it cracked open. Juice oozed out. Thirsty, I let it dribble on my tongue, over my face – it was a fresh, raw, delightful taste. I felt primitive. I felt new again. Strong. I waded into the tide pool. I splashed and sank under warm water and rose up again like a goddess.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.