Thursday, June 28, 2007
The word "islander" fills my head with Elvis, crooning songs from "Blue Hawaii". My mind's eye sees the hips of hula dancers undulating across the big screen in my head, their leis swaying to the ukelele music. My nose smells again the lovely perfume my Dad once bought for me called "Fiji". My toes itch for the grit of sand, and I just want to grab my bucket and shovel and head for the beach.
Because I too am an islander. I may not have the come-hither eyes or the lovely olive skin of Hawaiian hula girls. I may not have their undulating hips, or wear exotic flowers in my hair,or swish about in a grass skirt, but these were not requirements last time I checked. My pale eyes, freckled skin, and inability to undulate do not disqualify me. I am qualified by the mere fact that I was born on an island.
For all I know I could be descended from Vikings, those fearsome Scandinavian fellows with horns, who reputedly pillaged and looted all around my part of Ireland several centuries ago. And then, as our diminutive history teacher triumphantly told us, became more Irish than the Irish themselves. Which probably means they outdid the local lads in Guinness drinking and had all the lasses swooning over their stunning Nordic handsomeness.
So what of it, you say? What's the big deal? Well. If you must know, it makes me feel special. Being an "Islander" and all. It makes me feel like the ocean belongs to me. And I belong to the sea. Not that I'm brave or anything. I wouldn't be the one signing on for any Kon Tiki expeditions. I just love to be beside the sea. [Breaks into song---"I do like to be beside the seaside, I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll along the prom prom prom, where the brass band plays, tiddly om pom pom...."
I guess it's really all about water. Rivers are good. Lakes are better. Oceans rock. The most soothing sound on the planet, to me, is the swoosh of waves hitting the shore. When you grow up on an island that sound is never far away. It hangs in the air and has a salty tang.......