Considering the brevity of our stay on Hilton Head Island and the corresponding alleviation of stress I can only assume that the severity of any lingering anxiety will be entirely softened within days and certainly within the next five months of our sojourn here. Our preamble to hibernation was a ten-day tour of three other barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean, namely Tybee Island, Jekyll Island and Amelia Island. Last year we visited St. Simons Island and were therefore anxious to round out our exploration if for no other reason than to ratify our commitment to Hilton Head Island (a primary allegiance to which remains undisturbed).
This year we have compromised the size of our digs by opting to rent a condominium instead of a house. On the other hand we now have the advantage of being adjacent the Ocean, removed only by the beach, sea grasses and dunes. We can hear the water on the shore. The apartment is on the ground floor so there is immediate access to both the pool and the Ocean. In addition to the central balcony from the main living area each of us has a balcony adjoining our respective bedrooms at opposite ends of the condominium. We face southwest permitting us to savour the afternoon sunshine and setting sun.
It is impossible to resist an overwhelming sense of complacency, a placid fervency which spreads upon us like an irrepressible wave. This Island is for us one of perfect correspondence. We acknowledge that the Republican nature of the setting will not appeal to everyone but neither are we content with a Bohemian vernacular. Living in a strictly managed gated community (reportedly of some 7,000 dwellings, condominium units and hotel accommodations) naturally has its restrictive elements but on balance the security and pristine nature of the environment trumps all else. I am too old, curmudgeonly and arrogant to apologize for my preference and contentment level. We have the advantage of having been here for the past five years during which we’ve nurtured familiarity with the Island in general and certain emporia and locales in particular. For example as trite as it is, I positively gloat over my success today in purchasing a pair of boat shoes which satisfy not only my favoured colour (mahogany) but also my ideal width (wide). Believe it or not I have been unable to locate anywhere else – either “bricks and mortar” or “on-line” – a pair of casual shoes which were other than the standard medium width. We are equally smug about everything else here, the plantation (Sea Pines), the location (South Beach), the bicycle rental shop, the proximity to our target destinations (Sea Shack for lunch, Coligny Beach Park for an interim rest-stop and WiFi connection when cycling, Wexford Village and Shelter Cove for shopping, Harbour Town for the sailing views and our dentist and hair salon) in addition to the miles of diverse and well-maintained bike paths which crisscross the entire Island. During all our visits to the Island our estate agent Gail Edmonds of Destination Vacation has provided us with superior service and attention, imparting a singular and highly personal flavour to our dealings. Gail’s contributions and unqualified professionalism have been the sine qua non as far as we’re concerned.
Unquestionably our elongation from erstwhile familial concerns upon which we so assiduously dwelt for the past seven months has afforded us hitherto unprecedented relief. As I have frequently quipped, I had become the parent to the child, a metaphor to capture the reversal of roles as my elderly mother declines incrementally. We are grateful for the serendipity of having resolved all the outstanding issues which might otherwise have plagued the family were it not for the relentless and calculated efforts we made. It was nonetheless an utterly exhausting and all-absorbing undertaking, wresting an equally stubborn soul from the peril of her own inadequacies. As such the alleviation we presently relish may indeed be the mere pleasure of no longer banging one’s head against the wall. In fairness I confess that we have been amply rewarded by the privilege of resting our own weary bones on this nostalgic island. It soothes the soul.