As winter bears down on the northeast corridor, I’m filled with gratitude and optimism. Here I am, in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, marveling at a panorama of Caribbean islands and azure seas as I wipe sweat from my brow.
I’m a Virgin Islands realtor. By all accounts (reality TV notwithstanding) I should be wearing a tailored suit and 3-inch pumps, sitting in an air-conditioned office or driving a German import to my next multi-million dollar listing.
In reality, I’ve just come from a morning trek in the woods to eyeball boundposts that were exposed by the seller but that have gone undetected by my client, the buyer. I was shown the boundposts so that later today, when my client leaves her 9-to-5 job, I can enter these woods again and show her exactly where they are.
The parcel is untouched – the terrain rural, gently sloping and tree-covered. My days as a camper on the Appalachian Trail have taught me to wear long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes. There is a hush amid the tree cover, a breeze. I am thankful there are no snakes. While I see evidence of large mammal droppings, almost 20 years in the Virgin Islands has taught me that stray dogs and not mountain lions are probably to blame.
Thankfully the listing broker is an experienced hiker and sailor. His love of the woods is evident in several pauses he takes to appreciate the vista. There’s a small cruise ship in White Bay (on the island of Jost Van Dyke) he says, which we can clearly see in the distance. I’m thankful for the brief stop, as I need to rest and catch my breath.
Thick vines and spindly young trees weave an intricate net over, under and around. With no clear path, we choose our footing carefully and spy bright, day-glo markers. First the northwest corner, then we traverse to the northeast corner. We go uphill at the large culvert through rocky terrain and spy the southeast corner marker. Then we travel, holding on to anything that will bear weight, to the southwest corner of the plot. That’s it – the four corners of the property have been found. Now we have to retrace our steps going back.
Only one bee sting – I probably didn’t see the hive. Experience taught me to move swiftly and deftly just in case. I pick up the pace, heart racing, perspiration in my eyes.
Glamorous? Not so much. Memorable? Absolutely.
Once at home, my clothes lay in a heap, covered in those sticky bits of forest that have to be individually removed, piece by piece, from any fabric except denim. I shower and marvel at the fact that, in a few hours, I get to do it all over again.