Monday, July 24, 2006

And a Thing I Left Out

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.

4 comments:

jon said...

Well as for me,same back at 'cha. I guess I'm a newbie since I've resided here for only 10 years. But as a teen I hand summer jobs with State Ag Dept. Lived in Foley in a boarding hoouse for $25 a week including three family style meals a day. I enjoyed it and ever wanted to live in the area. Wife was a FHS grad in early 60's, and her Mother still thrives in town so she kind of came back home. Actually, we did not set out to relocate here. Instead we were searching for a spot to park our motorhome and just ended up buying. Our domicile is outside of the cliquish burg, but just barely. Of my prized ID's is a Fairhope Park sticker. The main pier is one of my favorite places, and with it down, there's a blank space in my way of thinking and mode of being. Just being there is enough and being glad to be alive enjoying enjoying (it's right). It is easy and hard at the same time to hear the tourists yammer on about the place, especially when I hear that they plan to move in soon. Can't hate them for it. They often ask fishermen about the jubilee obviously wanting a piece of the manna from the Bay. Change, well, I think about it like I think about other change; VCR-CD;
partyline-cell phone; colony-global economy. Seems it all has to do with money. I don't need money to enjoy the Bay and the pier......yet. I sure will be glad when the pier reopens. I hope to share some fish with you.

Brian said...

The bay is a special place. I will be glad when the pier does reopen. It really is a spot for all ages. Families and singles alike find some calm and relective moments there.

jon said...

When the pier last opened after Ivan, there was rumored that it would become what it once was, a commuter terminal for ferry service to Mobile. Wouldn't that just be a kick in the head. What with vehicle parking and/or loading and anticipated flow of pedestrians to ride the bay boat, there would be little space left for fishing and crabbing and just hanging out. I hope that idea has vanished, at least for the municipal pier. A bay ferry would be nice though, but from a different locale like Battles' Wharf or the Veteran's Club.

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