A Perfect Kind of Morning

Tiny sandpiper, digging for food

Captiva Island, January 2011

We're staying on Captiva Island for a few days with Kirsten and James -- did I tell you they came for a visit? Well, they did, and they're staying for a week, and because of the incredible generosity of a dear friend of mine, we've kidnapped them to Captiva Island for a few days. So fun and sneaky of us!

Our first morning of waking here could not have been more idyllic or peaceful. We slept in, and then I came down from the upstairs apartment where Kirk and I are sleeping to make a full pot of coffee for the house. There's a sunroom off the main living room with four wicker chairs around a table, and I settled in with my coffee and a copy of Henri Nouwen's Inner Voice of Love and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea.

No one else was up and about yet, and I just sat in the silence of the sunny porch room for several moments and took in the morning. A fluffy cat passed by the window next to me, and I watched him wander into the driveway and sniff the license plate of our car before wandering off.

Then I opened to the first few pages of Inner Voice of Love, a book that shares the pages of Henri Nouwen's "secret journal," and the first few pages I read deeply moved me. I closed the book began to sing aloud a devotional song I learned in my early college days.

Kirsten came out of their bedroom a few minutes later and poured herself a cup of coffee. She said good morning, and then each of us sat in our own quiet spaces -- she in the living room, me in the sunroom -- soaking up the morning silence, together but separate.

It was glorious.

Shortly afterward, I began reading my copy of Gift from the Sea. It's a 50th-anniversary edition of the book, hardcover with a beautiful sea-green dust jacket, with an introduction written by Anne Lindbergh's daughter, Reeve. 

Before Kirsten arrived in town, I had purchased a copy of this very same book for her as a birthday gift. Kirk and I knew we were surprising Kirsten and James with these few days at the sea, and I loved the idea of this profound little book companioning with her during our time here on the island.

However, when I began reading my copy this morning, I exclaimed aloud with surprise at discovering the following in Reeve Lindbergh's introduction:

When my mother was writing the book, she stayed in a little cottage near the beach on Captiva Island, on Florida's Gulf Coast. Many people have claimed to know which cottage it was and where it stands today, but the Florida friends who originally found the place for her told me years ago that the cottage had been gone, even then, for a long time. 

Isn't that amazing?! What serendipity.

Kirk and I have sensed from the beginning of our planning this trip that this time in Captiva is set aside as sacred and special in some way for Kirsten and James. We don't know what that means, but this fortuitous discovery inside the opening pages of Gift from the Sea seems to affirm the same.

Can't wait to see what happens.