It’s that time of year again. The transporters rumble onto the Island empty, with the wind whistling through their metal frames. And they leave heavily-filled with vehicles systematically stacked atop double-decker trailers. Their destination is someplace north of the Florida-Georgia line where they will once again be reunited with their rightful drivers.
Wandering around our tropical locale I see lanai furniture neatly assembled in nooks and corners; boats covered and tethered; hurricane shutters rolled down. The houses look asleep. Driveways quiet. Soon, there will be parking spots open just outside the grocery store doors, and restaurants will be accessible without long waits and reservations. The Farmer’s Market closes, beach parking spots open, and most of us who work on the Island take a restful breath. And yet, I can’t help but get a little melancholy as our seasonal visitors migrate north.
When we lived in Iowa we owned a home on a lake. A couple of things to keep in mind: there aren’t many lakes in Iowa and even fewer days warm enough to enjoy them. So, on those precious weekends in the summer, especially the holiday trio of Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day, our little Iowa lake was ALIVE! Every house, every rustic cabin, every camping spot, and every boat launch was teeming with traffic. People everywhere in flip flops and t-shirts, hauling coolers and lawn chairs and grocery bags of food. The whole place felt festive and happy and I always, always felt so much gratitude. We were lucky enough to have our own place at the lake. We would entertain family and friends and sit on our covered deck watching the boats float by. The skiers and wakeboarders would speed past with music turned up loud; churning the water into waves that spilled over the shore line and rocked the anchored boats. The weekend warriors would fill the two small restaurants to capacity and buy out all the hamburger buns at the tiny grocery store. But when they left on Sunday night, it was bittersweet. Yes, the calm and quiet was welcome, but with the tranquility, comes a hint of emptiness.
When we first bought our place at the lake it was nothing more than a corn crib…literally. The day after we bought it we were cleaning out the cabin and hauling trash to the curb when a gentleman strolled by. “You know, thats a corn crib with an addition or two attached to it,” he said to me. It turns out he was one of the original owners who began the sessile construction. As he walked away, I felt the worst buyer’s regret ever. I just paid money for a corn crib? Thatnight as my husband and I sat outside at the lake’s edge wondering if we were complete fools or savvy buyers, a voice came from over our shoulders, “You’re going to love it!”, the voice said.” This from our new neighbor who went on to tell us something we will never forget.
“We are really lucky to own a piece of this property. And we are obligated to share our good fortune with others.” Obligated to share our good fortune. Yes.
Living here on Marco Island, not a day passes that my husband and I don’t thank our lucky stars that we are able to live here. The weather is consistently warm and comfortable; the landscape is lush and the Gulf beaches are a short walk away. Of course people want to come here for vacations and extended stays! That’s how many of us started our own transition to living here. Vacation visit, turned to seasonal stay, and eventually Marco Island became home. When we made the decision to buy our piece of paradise, we also made a commitment to sharing it. In the spirit of yoga, we might consider it to be Ahimsa, which is compassion for all living things. Ahimsa suggests that in every situation we should adopt a considerate attitude toward all living things.
So, as the quiet settles over us and we bask in the luxury of ample parking and fully stocked grocery shelves, the pace of Marco Island will dial down a notch or two. At the same time, a bit of the sparkle might fade as well. Fewer pops of beach-umbrella color on the shore. Less sounds of laughter and happy chatter traveling down the canals. I will meet fewer people on my daily walk with “Michigan” emblazoned on their t-shirt and a mile- wide smile across their face. Our local economy will drop off for a few months and condos will sit empty. Until next season.
As the months of summer approach, and the days begin to warm, those of us lucky enough to call Marco Island our full time home may enjoy a little more flexibility in our schedules and rest in our weekends. But in the spirit of Ahimsa may we anticipate the return of our migratory guests with compassion and joyful expectancy. If we are lucky we will once again see our island home through the eyes of a vacationer. The Gulf sunsets will be more spectacular, the laughter will gain momentum and the Island will wake from its summer sleep. We are the lucky ones. And we are obligated to share.
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.