Friday, August 12, 2011

Changing Faces

A walk on the beach these days offers up faint signals and a small hope that weather patterns, along with ocean currents are on the edge of a shift, that a long hot summer is melting away. Nothing too obvious about it, but still the occasional crackle that nature is on the verge of changing faces. Holiday crowds have thinned and the long sweep of beach is now no longer a tangle of gazebos. Rain and dark clouds have also been part of the change, and not only the parched green but the dry and powdery sand has had a good soaking this week.

Early morning rain on Tuesday gave this unflinching walker a good sopping while cooling the air and smudging the hard lines between sand, ocean and sky. Ocean currents that are a part of August have brought an endless smorgasbord of fish for the pelicans, and in morning and late afternoon hundreds of the big birds gulp down fish, sit on the water for a few moments then flash upward again for another dive into the swarming schools. In the attached photo of two people fishing in the surf, faint specs of brown out on and over the water are pelicans on the hunt.

No doubt the marine biologists who patrol the turtle nests this month are happy to see fewer people at what is a critical time in the hatching season. Only a week ago the beach was a nightly circus of flickering flashlights in the hands of tourists looking for turtles. People visiting the area during these months are warned repeatedly not to interfere with the turtles, the nests or the hatching process, but sadly those warnings do not stop them from running up and down the beach at night with their flashlights.

Two weeks ago the hours between 11:00 and 5:00 were a time of furnace hot heat on the beach, a time when many retreated, waiting for more bearable conditions later in the day. But maybe it is the heat and sun that are in retreat now. The photo here showing the red lifeguard’s chair was taken at noon on Thursday, the first time since May that I have walked on the beach at any time other than early morning or early evening. Temperature in the high eighties, water temperature at 79°, endless vista of blue on blue, and a small sprinkle of people—it doesn’t get much better than that…or at least not until October.


  1. Aaahh, perfectly described and makes land-locked readers long for a vista of beach and water and sky and sand between the toes. That setting has long been thought of as a restorative one. It is nature reduced to a few basic elements. Throw in a rain shower and the cleansing is complete.

  2. A really different look to the beach now that the summer is winding down and the tourist are gone back to work, school and Fall projects.


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