Despite the world’s intrusion, isolated spots of unspoiled treasure have managed to hang on as literal and figurative islands of paradise.
St. John Virgin Island is one of them. In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller purchased most of this small Caribbean island with the precise intention of maintaining its “virginity” by turning it into a protected national park.
Even today, it is hard to imagine the original Paradise as lovelier than any given beach on St. John. Looking over an expanse of sand, water and vegetation, one wonders if any other spot on earth offers such powdery whites, peaceful blues and lush greens, or such an irresistible invitation to step into paradise - and keep on walking.
The entire island of St. John is an ideal spot in itself.
If perfection could be improved upon, the process might only require finding a place within paradise to call one’s own. And, when dealing with a portable chair and an intransigently beautiful view, one’s definition of the ideal spot could be revised hourly, with the movement of the sun and clouds.
The definition of paradise may depend on your viewpoint.
Two old boats anchored on a beach in St. Lucia looked as if they might be watching a movie scene play out on a screen of brilliant blue. Even a neighboring palm leaned in to take a peek at the clipper ship in the distance - which we later learned had been “cast” as “The Interceptor” in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
From our vantage point in the back of this “theater,” we wondered which vessel had the real paradise: a bold ship still braving the high seas; or a bystander boat, enjoying the action from its sandy bed.
Shocking blue water is all you can see for miles. The aged yellow paint of the pillars gives off a glow which is illuminated by the sun shining above. A gentle breeze is cast out over the water creating tufts of waves emerging from the once placid surface and you can’t help but think there could be anything more tranquil. A lone sailboat begins to emerge from behind a pillar; the sails blowing ever so slightly, just enough to move. You can almost feel the breeze as the boat glides forward. My emotions stirred as I tried to capture the moment for exactly what it was; a moment of discovering true Caribbean blue.
Sometimes long forgotten is just what - and where - you want to be.
On the shore of one of the British Virgin Islands, a palm tree stretches over the water, the bend in its neck arched perfectly for lazily swinging a rope and tire. Traces of just such leisure remain, in a path worn into the bark. A little boat nearby appears to have taken up happy residence, the weight of its sand-filled hull anchoring it against the tides.
Gentle water, soft sand, brilliant sky, feathery clouds. By chance or by choice, this is one spot where being marooned might be a pleasant fate.
It seems that dawn wears a shade of red on her lips.
In the Bahamas, near Nassau, the very same pier can look as different as night and day - depending on the time of day. In the morning, when New Providence Island awakes, waves, clouds, planks and even early-rising visitors get a good-morning kiss in pink.
A scene such as this does not render many words. Words would only cloud up the harmonious balance of water and sky interrupted by the distending dock. With this image words will do no justice; to fully feel the sun and have the water reflected in your gaze you must sit in silence and experience the harmony of the elements engulfing you in that perfect moment.