Speaking of magic, don’t know if I’ll use this in the film or not, but I’ve been rewriting this little episode of my life over and over. It was after the war, I’d wandered up the Florida coast sleeping on the beach, pulling driftwood out of the ocean, dancing to giant bonfires, abandoning bits and pieces of my uniform, equipment, a suit I’d never wear, books, pots and pans, dress shoes – all too heavy to pack up the beach – until I ended up with a tent and one white shirt with embroidery on it, a left over from the 60′s, even though now it was 1970. The year I left Vietnam. That shirt meant something I’d never gotten to be part of and maybe I thought I’d find it somewhere out there, the leftover from the 60′s, freedom, something good. I had no idea where I was going and it didn’t matter as long as it was warm I‘d survive.
St. Thomas was a little Caribbean island below Puerto Rico that I’d flew into by chance, pointing blindly at the map in the Miami airport, it had appeared there next to St. John and St. Croix. After arriving by plane and wandering the island for two days I ended up at Magens Bay, set up my tent in a grove of trees at the edge of a horseshoe shaped bay with a reef and tall cliffs opening to the Atlantic Ocean. The full moon at night fit perfectly between the two cliffs turning my beach into daylight. I hung a rope between two trees for a clothes line and pronounced myself at home.
The beach at Magens Bay became my home. I was there every day swimming in the ocean, exploring the rocks cliffs that lay to the north and snorkeling along the coast and when I got braver, swimming out into the deeper channel. One day when I was out there in the channel something strange happened. I’m still not sure what I saw. I was down about twenty feet, a couple of hundred yards off the beach when below me swimming toward the open sea and heading towards a small island a mile away were deer swimming underwater. It scared the hell out of me. At first my reaction was sharks, I knew they were out here somewhere, had heard a few native stories and when I saw the shapes I panicked, but looking again, there they were, deer and their legs furious. They were swimming strongly away from me. I swam as hard as I could to shore and sat there in amazement. It seemed impossible but I had seen it all right. Whenever I swam out there again I kept looking for swimming deer but it never happened again.