Later the same day (Mon. July 24)
One thing I meant to say about sitting on that pier last evening: I have sat on many old wooden piers in Fairhope over the years, blanketed by a sky of stars, and listening to the waves lap -- but the atmosphere was made a little different by the pier itself. It was clearly rebuilt, after Katrina, which had flooded our little bay but not done much damage in the surrounding grounds. The municipal pier itself is undergoing a restoration which will end up costing several million.
But rather than taking place on a structure of old, worn and weathered wood, this party of congenial friends was on a newly reconstructed pier, symbolic in its way of the new Fairhope. I could see the destroyed wharves just up the way, still waiting for attention, but the pier I was on was part of a condominium complex, meaning money was available and repairs had been made in time for the next summer's use. It felt solid, rather than rickety. It felt and looked new, with bright strong wood holding it firmly, presumably against the next storm's winds which we can anticipate within a month. There was something right about that party being in that place at that moment. No one on that pier came from the phalanx of settlers who have lived here since the days when hurricanes were not identified by name or category. They are finding new ways to shape Fairhope, new systems to reinvent her. They are creating their lives and they feel this is the place to do it. They are loving the bay of the holy spirit and honoring it, just as the Iowans who moved here in 1894 did. That is as it should be; and I need to be there to observe on one level, and on another, to be part of it.
That is really what happened to me yesterday.