Thursday, April 26, 2007

So Long, Snowbirds!

When Bob and I take our early morning walk, we head down our hill, around the bend, and along the drive into Gentle Winds, a condominium development on the beach with a large population of retirees who winter in St. Croix. All "winter" long, the Gentle Winds drive is full of morning walkers, whom we greet and have come to know by name. Jim and Dick carry plastic bags and pick up trash along the way. Mal walks her beagle that sometimes runs away to chase a mongoose, while Tom walks a sweet white poodle aptly named Marshmallow. Peter from Montreal asks about life up here on the hill, and a plump lady who nods a silent greeting carries a small Ipod in hand while wearing enormous headphones.

But as April winds down, the bustling drive to Gentle Winds empties as one by one, these walkers disappear. They return to their families in Connecticut or Rhode Island or Ohio, and Bob and I are often the only walkers on that stretch. With the snowbirds the tourists go too.

High season in St. Croix runs from December to April. There are families that come here during their kid's summer vacation, but the overall numbers are not as high as in season. We, the year-round residents, get used to the extra space on the roads, at restaurants, beaches, etc., and then October rolls around, and the influx begins as seasonal workers return to their jobs to prepare for the new tourist season.

And Bob and I continue our morning walk along the drive, and one day we see Dick who offers us a hearty greeting, and another day Tom comes along with Marshmallow, and soon the drive is full of life again.

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