Monday, June 21, 2010

Feet in the Water

An hour before high tide, water temperature 73°, on a near perfect day for fun in the sun. Good time for walking through a stretch of surf looking for Gidget and the cast of Beach Blanket Bingo. When I lived in another place, I used to enjoy walking along crowded streets, building sand castles out of the parade around me. Walking on a Florida beach offers a thousand opportunities to do the same.

There is a lot to see on a beach in the early days of summer, and for once, rather than brown pelicans, my eyes are on the people, the faces, shapes, chairs, coolers, kites, toys, tents, and towels, all swamping my vision. And at my feet the plash of water swarming over my ankles and legs.

There is one clan-like gathering of 20-25 family members staked out under, or nearby three broad Beach Gazebo cabana sets and all the convenience of what could pass for a portable version of home. Two children are stretched out on their backs in the surf, half buried in the re-assembling rush of sand, and the bubbly retreat of water sucked back into the ocean, the deep blue simple. Two attractive young women in bikinis, one of them elaborately tattooed draw more than one lingering appraisal from the college boys tossing a football. Unknowingly, a woman stoops and picks up a bean bag, while from a short distance away someone calls out that she is moving a game marker. Two boys decorate their sand castle with red and blue, shaking out drops of color from two small bottles that appear to be food coloring. Untanned grandmothers from Ohio search for seashells, their pale legs shocked by public exposure and burning sunlight. One well-shaped woman of about forty has commanded space enough to practice tai chi, a discipline, one would think, at odds with the rowdy soundtrack of whizzing balls and frisbees, the happy squeal of toddlers.

Straight in line with the usual personality of this climate, this month, out of the west comes a slow moving tumble of gray clouds. I am not alone in seeing the approach, and now people here and there stare up into the western sky. Mothers begin gathering beach toys and fathers start their tussle with the Beach Gazebo take-down. Aunt peggy is wrapping the sliced watermelon and brother Bill calls the kids out of the blue green water. But there are still hundreds who refuse to stop their play, to give up this day. After all, that rain looks like taking its time getting here.

Back on solid ground and walking along the brick pavers to my door, I come upon a cute little tyke of about three, and he says in passing, “Thunderstorm comin’.”

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America