The jetties are not made for yoga. Gargantuan boulders, some the size of a small car, stacked one on top of the other in impossible configurations. Rocks so large you know the stack won’t tumble, but with every step you still feel like there’s a chance. Saltwater from spray and waves creates puddles in concave spots. Algae grows like slimy carpet. It’s slippery. The jagged edges poke your feet and the sun bakes them all day long. It’s like stepping on a red hot frying pan.
The jetties are not made for yoga, but this is the age of Instagram. They were lined up to have their friends take the perfect shot. Above us was a brilliant blue. Azure. Cornflower. Sky. The sea was calm and filled with an endless stream of boats. In and out of the inlet, never ceasing. Mountain pose, downward dog, lotus. They’ll all look so much better in front of all these yachts and sailboats, won’t they?
This is our beach, my childhood beach. Hard to find, hidden away from the spring break madness. This is the beach where my sisters and I spent too many hours baking in the south Florida sun, testing the limits of our freckled Irish skin. This was our beach before Instagram or Facebook or even AOL. The age of rotary phones and three channels on the television. In those days, boom boxes took D batteries and SPF only went up to 15. In those days, things were simple. Before the death and sadness. Before the discord and estrangement.
Our jetties were not made for yoga. They were made for climbing and sitting and standing. They were made for exploration. They were made to conquer. Watch the boats and maybe you’d marvel at that one yacht that happened by. Look at the birds as they swoop in and gobble up scaly treats. Feel the sun. Feel the wind. Talk for days about everything and nothing. That’s what our jetties were made for, back when this was our beach.
I’m standing here, on this stack of boulders, thankful for the forgotten crumpled t-shirt that protects my soles from the scorching heat. Wispy clouds dot the sky. My gray hair is wild from salt and wind. I don’t climb too far up for fear that my leg will give way, but also from the traffic jam of yogis. Boats go in. Boats come out. Pelicans bob along in the waves. And beside me, my two sisters. What’s left of the four girls, the half of us six that still can be in the same room together. The last of the Mohicans. My sisters and me.
For a moment it feels like old times. I know it’s different and not just because of the photoshoots going on around me. We’re different. We’re older. We’re weathered and worn, more so emotionally than physically. Sure, we creak. We ache. But our real pains are on the inside. We’ve been through a lot, my sisters and me, often times with too much distance between us. Here and now, though, this is our beach. In this moment, we are three.
In between those years, the faraway past and the present moment, there have been landmines keeping up sisters apart. This sister for that reason. That sister for this reason. Fighting. Silence. Distance. Each one of us battling our own demon in our own time and our own way. Right now, this is our jetty and it might as well be 1983. Because, even when there is distance and strife, we’re kept together by the roots of our twisty turny family tree.
It’s not perfect. There isn’t a filter we can place over this picture. The angle is crooked. The edges are torn. It’s grainy and just slightly out of focus. I don’t know how long this moment in time will carry us, but I savor it. I will keep it in my heart for lifetimes to come. My world feels a little more whole and a lot less broken for a minute or two. There is healing in forgiveness. There is peace in trying. There is hope in letting go. It’s messy and scary and worth it. Try it, find it and you’ll see. Unlike yoga on the jetties, it doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to be.