Anne Morrow Lindbergh — aviator, author, and wife of Charles Lindbergh — wrote Gift from the Sea sixty years ago on Florida’s Captiva Island. Nobody knows exactly which cottage she lived in when she wrote the eloquent meditation on and for women that would become an international bestseller, but I know it must have been near to where we’re staying now. Captiva is only a little over one square mile in size, an extended sand spit, lapped on one side by Pine Island Sound and caressed on the other by the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico.
Much has changed since Lindbergh’s time here. Not just a causeway but ubiquitous Wi-Fi connects the island to the rest of the world, and multi-million-dollar mansions crowd along the highway facing the Gulf. But much remains the same. The shoreline is still strewn with cockle, olive, tulip, and scallop shells — a new trove of treasure every morning. Sea grape, beach morning glory, and oxeye daisies run wild over the dunes. The sounds of palm fronds and surf rustle through one’s dreams at night. And, just as Lindbergh wrote, it remains true that “one is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the seashore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings.”
To order the 50th Anniversary edition of Gift from the Sea click here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780679406839
Ah ! Yes !! Remember it well. Do hope it hasn’t “developed” too much since “our” days.
It’s still beautiful, Bill — and most of the houses are, too.
This is one of the few books I’ve read multiple times and though I’ve never traveled to the island, the images are as clear as if I had and each read is a new retreat.
That’s so true, June. She had a remarkable ability to capture the essence of the place — and to find insight in things most of us overlook.
One of my favorite books written by a remarkable woman. Liza, please consider a visit to Jacksonville when you’re in Florida next! PS I’m really enjoying BLEEDING HEART. Has scene visualization every paragraph!
Thanks, Carole! I’m so glad you’re reading BLEEDING HEART and liking it. Please let me know what you think when you’ve finished it.
Thank you, Lorraine!