Bright blue beach umbrellas. Hot sand between my toes, walking toward the welcoming water. Dark wash jeans rolled up, wide cuff just above ankles transform into shorts just above knees; flip-flop sandals slip into each back pocket. Bent over the dancing shallow water searching for seashells.
Surf boards. Sparkling water. Sand pipers in the shallows. I’m pulled into the water the way the ocean lures us in. Sun warming my skin. Blinding sunshine glistening reflection in the shallow pools along the shoreline. Gathering shells as I walk in the warm water along the ocean’s edge.
The smell of tropical oils and coconut scented sunscreen. Brightly colored board shorts; cheeky copper-toned beach bums in bikini bottoms. The mixed aromas of salty air, bursts of spray-can sunscreen wafting past mothers to envelop their children, mingled with the menu from the fry stand.
Wetsuit clad surfers with gray hair and weathered, suntanned skin next to pale young children with pink cheeks in their father’s arms at the waters edge facing out toward a horizon dotted with paddle boarders and surfers happily riding the waves in the late afternoon sun until their shadows stretch as long as the longboards upon which they balance with athletic grace.
Warm winds and the perpetual motion of the waves at low tide. The rhythm of the ocean’s endless song. Beach bicycles. Sun worshipers. Airplanes overhead in the clear blue sky. Beach volleyball. A tiki bar called Trader… something.
The stark contrast of bright sunshine and warmth with the dark shade under the pier and cool wet sands. The dude in a red Coke t-shirt, ” Have a Coke and a smile.” Happily I find myself smiling.
Thickly carpeted patterns of bird tracks in the dappled gray sand under the pier. The only slightly-out-of-place fumes from cigarette smoke near the beach-side restaurant patio.
Surprised by the sight of plump purple pigeons under the pier.
Beach blankets and boldly patterned beach towels.
Finding my dad seated in the shade at the base of the cracked and graying wooden support pole under the pier. Seeing the similarity between them with the worn character of his creased face and once dark, now sandy graying hair showing at the base of his red FSU ball cap; laugh lines peeking out at the edges from beneath his dark sunglasses.
Time to go.
Back in the hot car.
All the ice melted into my sweet tea.
Framed by the passenger seat window is a picture of blue water, the Intracoastal Waterway, set against a widening white wake, like the train of a lace wedding dress, trailing behind a motor boat.
My iPhone says it is 30 degrees; I think in Celsius.
Pina Colada lip balm; SPF 15.
Long drive home. Exact change for the toll booth.
Thickly forested Florida speeds past my window; pine trees and palm trees waving goodbye to me.
I went to the beach today.
How was your day?© Una-Melina // Worthy Books & Things, 2014.