I silently passed by Luke engrossed in the news, he knew my routine. I sauntered to a dirt road and walked while building up my energy and determination leading into a jog. I really enjoyed walking and I could probably do it all day, but a quick run was so much more efficient. Lavender morning glories lined the path, shining upward to greet the sun. Dense scrub brush added a jungle-like feel to the tropical island. Light peeked through the tall thin pine trees creating an irregular pattern of shadows on the sandy trail. Buzzing crickets screamed through the trees at certain points and then complete silence. The only other noticeable sign of life was a few comical sideways moving land crabs. They’d raise a large claw in the air, attempting to intimidate and challenge a fight. All the while doing the horizontal tango into the road then back to the bush, proudly displaying an obscenely sizable claw. On a few occasions I had to stop and play with an arrogant little fellow, almost taunting him. I’d never hurt a creature but it was sure fun revealing my armor, my sheer size 121 pounds heavier than its claw. And I too could do the tango. Needless to say, I always won.
I stopped at the beach club to stretch, admiring the three-sided ocean view reflecting several shades of blue and green. Translucent celeron and jade in the shallower waters, deep midnight to polar blue in the distance and a lighter sky blue in the forefront. A color I referred to as Bimini blue given its prominence in front of Bimini Sands and most of the island. Perhaps the most beautiful luminous water I’ve ever seen. The water contrasted against a dilapidated rusting white fence and pink cement seawall with columns lining a small inlet allowing access to boating canals. Cement debris littered a beach rock jetty. Remnants from the hotel that once existed here, from what Luke told me last night. A hurricane wiped out the inn, a tsunami size wave hit the two-story hotel taking it out into the ocean. The set-back corner position of the beach club left it undamaged. Next to me, a solid row of sun-drenched green bushes separated the debris from the road. Too lush and manicured to be native plants. In the beach club lawn Bermuda grass held indigenous sea-grape trees fashioned into round balls with heart-shaped leaves, strategically placed sunflowers, fuchsia Bougainvillea, and a surf board placed for ornamentation.
I was only fifteen minutes into my run and already drenched in sweat. I used my right hand, index finger side leading, to propel the sweat off my face like a windshield wiper during a downpour. A motion I continued throughout my run.
I jogged past a sign reading, Bimini Biological Field Station. Better known as the shark lab, it’s an international research facility designated to studying shark behavior and population. I made a mental note to visit the shark lab during our brief visit in Bimini. Several students were hanging clothes in the front yard, old-fashioned washing and drying of clothes I concluded. Other students were arranging casting nets and two rather large dogs leashed to a pole barked and howled as I ran by.
South Bimini was still quiet, although a few locals passed on golf carts with a quick flip of the hand as a friendly wave. Not that anyone was going to play golf, a golf course doesn’t exist on the island. It’s the preferred transportation vehicle which given the island’s small size and moderate climate, it’s the perfect way to get around. Not only were cars missing, except the scattered few, but also street signs, horns honking, background interstate noise, asphalt, squirrels, big lush trees, cats sitting on porches, lawn art and any sort of diverse built skyline.
On another side canal I jogged past private vacation homes belonging mostly to Americans, especially from Florida only fifty miles to the west. In the sandy yard of a lime green house, handmade wooden signs nailed to a dock piling and pointing to Miami, a nude beach, Jamaica, Cozumel and Cuba. I smelled wood burning, reminding me of Africa and the exotic experiences I had in Benin, Kenya and Tanzania many years ago. The ubiquitous charred wood aroma of the continent I loved the most, longing to live there in my youth. Searching for the source of the scent I discovered a tree burning in the sand surrounded by scrub brush, a controlled burn I recognized.
I found relief in a small marina pool, diving in and exhaling victory at the end of my painfully heated run. Hot yoga was easy compared to jogging in Bimini during the summer with a humid hurricane approaching. The air-conditioned condo seemed like an igloo afterwards, so I quickly hit the shower.