There are any number of constants about the ocean and beach, sights that become familiar over time when they are the first sight upon waking in the morning. No question that I’ve become accustomed to it over the twenty-four months of living here, not an unexpected lapse into a regularity where one day at the beach becomes pretty much like another. But then, that’s not really true at all. Look hard enough and you'll find a handful of things that are new and different with each sunrise.
Being away for a stretch of days, in my case almost four weeks, is a reminder of the specialness that colors this spot on the edge of a continent. Surrounded by luggage, and a bag of groceries, exhausted, I fell into bed last night thinking I might sleep through Saturday, ocean and beach be damned. Didn’t quite work out that way and the light of a rising sun creeping up over the Atlantic pulled me from sleep. With hardly a pause I went outside, walked down to the beach stairs where the sight of everything about this place filled me up all over again. There again were the pelicans soaring a foot above the rolling crest of a wave, a track of sunlight jittering on blue-gray water, a sudden growth of wild grass and sea oats against the seawall, and nothing to distract the ear from the steady roar of surf. There it was all again, but with one or two small changes that made it all seem new again.
Driving from Baton Rouge back to Florida on Friday started out well but in the afternoon, a couple of hours into the Florida panhandle things got nasty. It was my luck to fall in behind a long line of cars creeping along behind a double-wide load that extended across the whole of the Interstate highway. Led by a state trooper and two pick up trucks all with flashing lights, trailed by another state trooper and two more flashing pick ups, there was no way around the wheeled leviathan for a distance of about 200 miles. Hard to tell what was being hauled such a distance, a giant piece of machinery of some sort. At times the speed increased and the highway became a dangerous gauntlet, a three-lane sandwich of cars all moving nose to tail at a high speed. Altogether possible it was a situation that would have given Mother Teresa road rage. I Finally got around the wide-hipped monster about eighty miles from home.