Take a Break Already
Ssshhhhh, can you hear that? It’s the sound of the palm fronds swaying in the gulf breeze, the waves caressing the shore, laughter mingled with sea gulls and tranquility.
Sshhh Can you smell that? It’s the smell of sea salt soothing your senses, fragrant aromas of exotic flowers, a hint of coconut sunscreen and hamburgers being grilled in the distance.
Ssshhh can you feel that it’s the combination of the suns rays warming your soul, the powdered sugar sand underfoot, a smile spreading across your face, stress and worries melting away.
Can you see that? The flawless azure skies and crystal clear water, soft white sand, an array of brilliantly colored flowers framed against lush green foliage.
It’s early morning, I have no idea what time, I haven’t bothered to look at the time since we arrived at our beach house which boasts of only one clock. There’s a reason for that. If you really need to know it’s in the kitchen I think. The sun is rising, the sky is a pale blue and I take in a deep breath filling my soul with all the goodness that surrounds me as I slip out of bed and outside onto the back deck. Cameron is already up, of course. I join him with a bowl of cereal and some quiet conversation as we watch a couple of rabbits come out from their maze of tunnels among the sea oats and nibble on the more tender shoots along the path that leads from our deck to surfside. Come join us. It’s quiet and calm and you can hear the ocean calling as we watch the waves come in and out from our little oasis on the beach. I steal away a few moments for myself along the waters edge as I take a walk in those undisturbed hushed moments of pre dawn. The air is alive, the ocean speaks to me, the sand is cool and soothing, there are new treasures on the shore from the night’s tide. The day is beginning and I know little ones are stirring, I must get back to the beach house, for excitement and adventure await. I hope you will stay. Soon we’re all on the back deck eating our cereal and witnessing the day awakening together. We’re packing our beach bag with essentials and putting on our swimsuits that pretty much don’t come off until bedtime.
Racing down the path, the bunnies scurry back into their burrows, we slip off our flip flops as we reach the powder soft sand. The boys run on their tip toes in the fine sand relishing in the squeaky sound it makes and discover with glee that they’ve made bear tracks by running on the fronts of their feet and not letting their heels touch the sand. They delight in themselves as they run circles, criss-crossing one another and exclaim, bears have been on the beach. Try it! It’s fun and now there’s been a papa and mama bear on the beach as well.
Drop your towel next to ours, here in the sand and don’t dawdle. The water draws us in. Quickly we sum up the tide. If it’s going out we’ll have the sand bar to play on, if it’s coming in the water will be deeper and we won't be able to drift out so far. The water is choppy, not too rough for swimming though, just right for boogie boards and kayaks. Grab one, there’s plenty to share. Cameron is teaching the boys how to kayak by themselves. I’m going to savor just a moment in the sun on the sand as I soak it all in before I grab a boogie board myself. The waves look perfect for an exciting ride. Look! Look at all the fish, there are schools of them swimming in and around us. You know where there is a fish there is always a bigger one to follow. ;) Those are mullet I think, but that’s a red snapper that just swam between Edison and I! The pelicans are busy this morning. Those two are inseparable. They mirror each others every move. They’re amazing, they’re beautiful. There is something splendid about the way they glide along the surface and soar through the sky and the sheer force and power they use as they dive, plunging into the sea. Did you know that they have airbags built into their shoulders to protect them from the impact? Did you know that pelicans are my favorite bird? Wow, look at all those fish over there, way more than usual, thousands. They’re tearing up the water, something must be chasing. Look at all the birds coming in from everywhere to take advantage of the feast of fish. Word travels fast. Whoa! Did you see that? Over there! A tarpon just came screaming in over the sand bar to get in on the action. It looked like a torpedo. He disappears just as fast. Wow, how exhilarating.
It quiets down and we play away the morning, again no one knows what time it is, do you? We brought waters and snacks, our stomachs will tell us when it’s lunch time. A morning of playing in the sand, swimming, riding the waves and soaking in life really worked up our appetite. We’ve cleaned out the supply of granola bars and wheat thins. Let’s head back up to the house. While we eat our lunch on the back deck, we sigh at the beauty before us and around us for that matter. Edison’s been asking to go fishing, why don’t we go now? Let’s try the north bridge of the island. We gather our gear and are on our way. Just a couple minutes of a jaunt and we all pile out and head for the seawall that stretches all the way under the bridge and around. The boys are catching pinfish like crazy. I love saltwater fishing and haven’t fished in years. I didn’t want to pry the pole out of Edison’s hands but couldn’t bare it any longer. Thankfully he thrilled in the idea of his mom fishing and gave me a turn. I was hooked again.
Here goes, my first cast in years, whooops. You weren’t watching were you? It just went sailing up over the bridge. I know it had to have landed on someone’s windshield. So much for my live bait, it isn’t now. Let’s slow that down and try again. Ah, that’s more like it. I think I’ll have better luck catching something in the water. It’s relaxing and fun even if nothing is biting except for the little pinfish. That's enough to keep the boys enthused. It’s hot, maybe too hot for the fish. I just saw a sheepshead swim out in between the piling! It’s deeper and cooler out there. We should probably try again this evening or in the morning. I’ll start taking things back to the car. What? What’s that Cameron? He’s waving at us to come back. Oh, look! Dolphins! A pair of them. How incredible, I've been waiting to see them. There’s something magical about watching dolphins.
Back at the beach house, we fuel up and head back to the beach of course. Wanna join us? There’s still time before dinner. In fact there’s always time. Don’t mind them, people are always stopping to watch the boys play in the surf. Often they’ll conjure up and share stories of when they were a kid and reminisce with us. Some will congratulate us or compliment us on such a fine family. Everybody loves a family at the beach. I’ll admit it brings me great joy to watch my boys out there having so much fun and to be experiencing it with them. Makes me feel youthful and alive again. Watch Isaac roll in the sand, he’ll cover himself from head to toe, face included. I love watching him love life. Everest has really gotten the hang of the kayak. He has a few scratches from when that one wave rolled him, but that didn’t stop him. Edison too. I think he’s enjoyed the fishing more than anything, if we’re not careful he’s going to turn into one. I can’t believe Hudson let me cover his body in sand all the way up to his armpits. He was made for this. We all were. The visibility is fantastic for snorkeling. Look, they found a sea urchin and a starfish. How cool, look at that, you caught a pair of crabs too. Sweet. Good thing you brought your buckets down. Look at that, the starfish is trying to crawl out.
Someone is waving from the beach house. Dinner time? Ok, I guess we should go in. Don’t worry we always come back down after dinner. Someone fired up the grill and it smells good. The boys and all their cousins are busy exploring, hunting down lizards and seaside treasures while the adults set the table and lounge in the chairs over looking it all, catching up with each other. These are the days you remember as a kid, The perfect days that last forever. Mmmmm dinner is great, did you have enough. Oh, you’ve got to have room for dessert. It’s the famous Publix chocolate chip crème cake. Absolutely sinfully scrumptious.
Who’s going back down to the beach? I’m going! Bring the football and Frisbee. This is my favorite time of day. I love it when the sun begins to lower and everything is a sun kissed gold, a heavenly honey hew, so warm and inviting. Everything within the reach of the sun's rays is made flawless. As if seen through Heaven's eyes. The boys have really picked up on sand sports. The diving into the soft sand is the best part. Funny how sand and surf slows down the world, it can even make a game of football relaxing. It doesn’t get much better than this. What a sunset, a soft palette of pastels perfectly smeared across the sky. The intense oranges and purples often accompany summer sunsets, still remarkably beautiful. You can’t go wrong with a sunset at the beach, even in a down pour.
The boys are enjoying a few more runs with the boogie boards before it’s too dark to see. They'd stay out here all night, me too. Hey who’d like to walk down to the Big Olaf for some ice cream. The Village on Siesta Key is a fun little place, outside music and what not. We always like to just sit out front of the ice cream parlor on the purple benches and eat our ice cream enjoying the atmosphere and each other. I think we got more ice cream on our tummies rather than in our tummies. Ah, well. We enjoyed it all the same.
Back at the beach house we’ll start to wrap things up for the day. I’ll tidy up the deck while the boys chase lizards in the moonlight. I love that we can hear the ocean. Evening on the deck is so relaxing. Not that the day hasn’t been. I’m glad you decided to come along and share a day at the beach with us.
We’ll be back, will you?
(pictures, funnies and other anecdotes coming soon)