What is it about piers that fascinates me? If my memory is correct, the Bay St. Louis shoreline was dotted with them. All along the coast. I was saddened to learn how hurricane Katrina had wiped out most of those private little respites. Here it is sixteen years after the big storm, and I think few have ever been replaced. But my memories are still vivid. Every time my husband and I walk out on San Clemente Pier, I often think of those romantic wooden walkways jutting out along the coast of Mississippi.
Crashing Waves, Swirling Waters and Wood Pylons
I love the water, the ocean, the waves. Boats far out on the glassy surface fascinate me, but not like the pier. There’s just something about being above and over the water, with the waves crashing about the pylons holding me up. The pungeunt smell of the old creosote-coated wood logs, and the ocean swirling below have a hynoptic hold on me.
I guess it’s no surprise that I mention these towers of strength numerous times in Shattered Guilt.
Everyone loves Piers, don’t they?
When Melanie takes her daily run along the coast, she mentions the nostalgia of those old structures. They’re my memories, of course, and in the fictional Bay Town, some of the piers were rebuilt after the big storm. I just couldn’t leave them out. They’re so much a part of the gulf life for the Bay Town residents. Everyone loves piers, don’t they? Capt’n Jack lives on his boat near Pier One, and Mrs. Higa pulls up lobster and crab traps off hers. Yes, her own private pier.
When our family first arrived in Bay St. Louis, my father rented a house across the highway from the water, and it had a private pier. A rickety wooden one. I don’t remember if it had crab traps attached, but I remember my mother and father excited about cooking up fresh crabs one evening for dinner. I was totally freaked out! Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to eat seafood.
In the scene where Melanie recalls jumping off the pier as a little girl with her sister Charlene, that’s my sisters and me. Still in my mind’s living color, as clear as can be, holding my nose because I was not too fond of the smell of the gulf waters, my knees tucked under me, cannonball style, and yelling Jeronimo!
Even Pastor Desmond jumps from a pier. Well, really it’s a dock, and it’s a deleted scene. But the pastor, Officer Bert, and Big Joe foil an attempted abduction of Melanie’s daughter, Lacey. Pastor Desmond flies through the air and crashes into the water on top of the bad guys. I loved that scene, but it had to go. It’s pretty exciting, so let me know if you want to read it. I’ll share.
Another book I wrote, Bay Town Christians Fruitcake, the novella’s working title, has more jumping off piers. I’m hoping it will be released around the holidays next year, but guess where the main characters are in the opening scene? A pier, all right, but whose? The beginning is pretty intense, but it’s a heartwarming Christmas novella that I loved writing.
Where’s your favorite pier?
Whether it’s a dock or a platform that juts out into the water, do you have a favorite place like that? Somewhere you can sit or lay and listen to the birds overhead? Or watch fisherman catch nothing, but sit contentedly enjoying God’s creation? There’s something about those open edifices that bring me to a peaceful place.
Swing your feet.
I relish standing on a solid structure, atop a not-so-solid foundation, but enjoying the safety and beauty all around me, as far as the eye can see. It’s like the Lord is holding me in the palm of His hand, assuring me that He’s got me.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 41:10. When I taught this in a Ladies Bible Study, an older woman commented, “Swing your feet!.” Our group gave her a collective puzzeled look and she held up her cupped palm and said, “If you’re sitting in God’s victorious right hand, swing your feet!”
Where are we going tomorrow? Check back, you’ll see. Bye, Y’all!