Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rain & Tide

An unusual amount of rain fell along Florida’s central east coast on Monday, and while it seemed benevolent enough at the time, the effects of it all on the beach landscape were not visible until Tuesday morning. Of course, heavy rainfall by itself wasn’t enough to create all the changes visible on the early winter beach. A strong, seaweed heavy tide swept in some time before daybreak working its way up and down the sand like heavy grading equipment and leaving a completely new arrangement of sand, sculpted around spongy swaths of yellow brown seaweed.

From the stairs leading down to the beach on the north side it is impossible to reach the sand without either leaping over a great canyon, or clambering over the railings and jumping down. The south stairs were blocked by sand until someone came with a rake and opened a narrow pathway down onto the beach. But once there, a tangled and fetid garden of seaweed lay between the stairs and still close surf line. These are not the prettiest of times at the beach, but such churnings of sand and seaweed are a vital part of an environment constantly renewing itself.

Went over to historical Canal Street for some Christmas shopping and later some lunch at Clancy’s Mexican restaurant across the drawbridge. Surely because the area has been designated as an historical landmark, Canal is always charming in it rows of giant palm trees, always immaculately manicured and now entwined with Christmas lights. Walking along the street you wouldn’t find as much as a dropped receipt or single cigarette butt anywhere along its pristine length.

Looking out to the street from the patio at Clancy’s Mexican Restaurant

Back home just at the start of a sudden shower and unexpected fall in temperature. The rain was quick in passing but the chill has stayed behind making a pullover necessary outdoors. I clambered down to the beach late in the afternoon to investigate an unmoving pelican perched on the sand and visible from my windows. Another sad wrench in nature’s ongoing cycle, the young female bird sat in an awkward lean, legs forward in an odd fashion, and though still alert with clear eyes it was apparent she wouldn’t be rising again. Wild birds don’t otherwise allow humans such near at hand approach. A neighbor came down to see, saying what a terrible and sad thing for the bird. No question the situation is pitiful, but no worse probably than a pelican’s death in old age, a time when blindness from constant dives into the sea has eroded their vision, leaving them unable to catch fish and thus dying slowly of starvation.


  1. And such days that seem ordinary in their passing make up the bulk of our existence. And good writers remind us that those ordinary adventures (mountains of seaweed, shopping along a pristine street, the death of a flying creature) are as important as the milestones we tend to remember most: births, graduations, weddings, funerals.

  2. You two are so profound! But I too have come to realize, as Andy Rooney so curmudgeonly stated at 94...I have learned that its those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular...that I cherish everyday. And most of all my friends.

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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