Rock Island: The Awakening

Rock Island: The Awakening

We stood alone among the rocks and oyster shells, surrounded on all sides by water. Somewhere beyond the water lay the land and the noise of the daily grind, but here now the only sound was the gentle lapping of the slow rising tide against the side of our tandem kayak which was moored to a large piece of driftwood a few paces from where we stood. Beneath our feet was Rock Island, as we had become accustomed to calling it. Presently it was no more than 100 feet at its widest point, a small patch of algae covered rocks, shells, and mud peeking forth from the surface of a small creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. But soon, as part of the daily tidal dance, it would again sink back beneath the surface like a giant sea turtle returning to the depths after rising for a breath of air. Rock Island was just a short paddle from the house where I grew up and just a little further from the house where I presently lived with my wife and kids. I had stood on this very spot many times before, but not for several years. When I was a child the island used to be much wider, even containing green grass, but now it was diminished, devoid of greenery, and only surfaced at low tide. Weathered by time and climate change, at high tide the island was now a ghost, its presence below the surface only marked by the tattered solo white flag someone had staked to its center to warn passing boats. The island was not...