Friday, November 22, 2013

Water, Wind, Earth & Fire...

The Beach at Caneel Bay
    I am reading Christine Valters Painter's book  Water, Wind, Earth & Fire while I'm here on St. John. *  I think you experience the elements more profoundly, and certainly quite differently, when you venture into a climate that is far different from your own.

    Here, the water is a stunning blue and embracingly warm (and with its high salt content, it seems to cradle you in its warm arms as you float along), the trade winds are so refreshing on a warm day (at this time of year they are called the Christmas Winds), the earth is ground down to soft, welcoming pink sand and the fire of the ever present sun must be, above all else, respected or you will be pinker than the sand!

   The beauty of this place is beyond description.  What I love most about St. John, and what sets it apart from the other nearby islands, is the fact that 60% of the island is a National Park thanks to an initial gift by Laurance Rockefeller.  He wanted to preserve this place, safe from development, for generations to come.  Although I could hardly afford a night's stay at the Caneel Bay resort,  parts of the beautiful beach are still open to the public and we spent a day there.

   Here on St. John, in the forests of the mountains and along the shore, you can appreciate the elements in new and enlightening ways and I'm reminded of a quotation from Hildegard of Bingen I read in Christine's book:

...humankind cannot live or survive without nature.

   I am so thankful to be here to experience the water, wind, earth and fire in such natural beauty and know that it will be like this for years and years to come.

* I have mentioned, ad nauseum, that having a literary inspiration is important to me when I travel.  When I received Christine's book a few weeks ago I decided to make it my book for St. John.  I liked the idea of referencing the four elements here and contrasting them to my usual relationship to them in Maine.

PS...Here is another of my St. John Alphabet finds! It is from Honeymoon Beach on Caneel Bay. Snorkeling is a passion here and I love to float with my face in the water watching the sea turtles and spotted rays.  I'm having such a lot of fun on my alphabet scavenger hunt!  So different from the one I did on Monhegan Island in Maine.  I'll upload all of them when I'm done.

   This sort of search needn't be related to letters.  One could easily search for circles or shades of blue.  What this does is heighten your discriminating skills which is always good.

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