Everyone’s seen or heard at least one of them – those romantic movie plot scripts unfolding, or real-life, mystical sea swept connections caused by one simple, scrawled note on a piece of paper tossed into the deep blue and later found.
From Nicholas Sparks' award-winning, tearjerker novel/movie, to the true tales of castaways' communications sent from coast to coast, notes sent sailing over ocean waters elicit a wistful wonder of sorts in the soul of us all. There's just something about these nautical notes that feeds a need in our very being for connection -- even between strangers across the sea.
It was just one such spectacular occurrence that local fisherman David Wilson discovered washed ashore at Shell Beach recently. Wilson, rather than reeling in a reward of the aquatic kind, found instead a “reel-life” message in a bottle. Apparently, a young child named Safina had -- four years ago -- handwritten the floating invitation to kindly ask the reader to her 2010 Maui birthday celebration via sea delivery post.
Perhaps she was hoping a kind, overseas stranger would find it and forget their way to her birthday soiree -- opening the door to a brand new friendship and the beginning of a makeshift, ocean-born ohana. Regardless of the small keiki's reasonings, Wilson, a proud (and lovingly sentimental) father of two, was amazed and intrigued by the bobbing marvel, and began pondering the possibilities.
Questions cluttered his brain, such as how far the invitation traveled? Which direction did it come from? Where might it have been all this time until now?
It seems many of these queries will remain unknown, yet, at least a few answers may yet still be found. The invitation within the bottle lists the birthday girl (Safina) and her mother (Kim) as having the last name of Woodstock or Woodstocker. The phone numbers listed for guests to RSVP have unfortunately been disconnected.
However, if Wilson’s enthusiasm to unlock this message in a bottle’s mystery is equally matched by those of us in the now reading audience, the solution to this coastal conundrum can’t be far off. Inquiring minds have a way of navigating the winding ways of mystery, becoming our very own Sherlock and Holmes of sea scribbles. More, I'm sure, will come of this cute and heartwarming quandary.
I must admit that such a remarkable account sets the wheels of my own imagination whirring – what sentiments would you or I send across the sea? Would we whisper sweet nothings to a sweetheart long separated -- emotionally or physically? Perhaps we'd sail a poem across the waters -- one filled with fiery passion and words with depth of feeling? I'd pen my grandmother a goodbye wish -- kiss it kindly -- and watch as if wafted away -- believing it would reach her somehow, someday. Maybe I'd even bottle a brave little note to my future self -- encouraging, goal-setting, affirming and enthusiastically hopeful in its possibilities and outlook.
What would you inscribe on your message? The possibilities are endless, and unique as each individual soul. Yet one thing that is certain, the seas will keep your secrets -- and once strangers across the waves will marvel at your musings one day -- literally reading between the lines to find a new friend and kindred spirit.
By Andy Beth Miller