Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Salt

In my absence from Florida the elements have been at work on the ocean at my doorstep. A departure in mid-November left behind the signs of autumn at play on sand, sky and water. There was a crispness about the scene that identified the season in ways akin to, but unlike the November foliage of New England—a note in the air that said, “This is autumn.” At the halfway mark of November’s passage, the seasonal earmarks were obvious to any walker on the beach.

All that has been replaced. More correctly, all that along Florida’s central east coast has been replaced, or redesigned. On December 1st I look eastward out my windows and see the start of winter. A walk on the beach displays a different palette defined by the change in weather patterns. There is a new and somber hue to the morning sky that announces something will now be different about the light under this blue dome. Tides have shifted, shaped the sand into an unfamiliar hardness. The movement of feet and legs across its impeccable surface sounds a note not felt two weeks ago. In the roll and foam of surf its constancy is unchanged, but these days it comes from a body of water darker in color, showing less range in its cycle of blues, greens and browns. Staring for a few minutes through binoculars, I see nothing in its vastness but cold dark blue. Walking on the beach, for a moment I wonder if a gull there in the wash of surf has cold feet.

A few people continue to walk in shorts, but long sleeves are needed to blunt the steady north wind. An early morning low under 40° discouraged all but one or two sunrise walkers, while most of us—some in jeans and a hoodie—wait until it gets a few notches higher later in the morning. Best part is, hot or cold, August or December, the myriad facets of this environment promise each day a new or different appreciation.


  1. Well done. You have a nice ability in describing your environment. Gives the reader the exact feel of the elements. As far as the place you just left, the same cold front that washed through Florida has the last two mornings left frost on windshields and more crunch under heels from the deepening layer of leaves on the patio. The fish in the pond hover in the cold water like brightly colored blimps. What passes for winter (one or two cold nights then warming) is upon us.

  2. Glad you made it back undented. Thanks for steering us (your readers) to the Keillor book; I enjoyed it immensely.
    A morning walk on the beach, no matter how chilly, still sounds nice.

  3. William... got a very nice e-mail from Katherine Bucknell (ed.Isherwood diaries). I had written her to congratulate her on the nice NYT review which came out a couple of days ago. She told me a few things... send me an email, as I don't want to post them here

  4. Simply enjoy reading how you compare the scene around you at the beach before you left on your trip with what you are finding now....2 weeks later. You have the ability to take your reader walking along with you on the beach. Beverly


About Me

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