A Windy Day at the Beach

Thoughts of the beach…

When I’m at the beach, I’m a watcher. I study the beach, like a meteorologist studies the weather.

Today the beach is very windy. The waves are wearing their white caps and the sea oats are bending in praise to the sand.

The usual bright umbrellas that line the beach remain furled around their poles and bound by ties. They remind me of sentries guarding the sand from the greedy waves and wind.

My neighbor’s flag beats itself against the wood, sounding like the pattering of a hard rain.

Out in the water, I hear the faint screams of joy as children do a sea dance – leaping and twisting in the rolling waves.

A black dog dashes into the water chasing a ball. He shows no fear as waves challenge him. Grabbing the ball in his mouth, he swims back to drop it at his owner’s feet, clearly saying, “Throw it again!”

Walking down to the beach, the sand spits at my legs feeling like pinpricks, but when I dig my toes into it, my feet feel warm.

At the water’s edge, seaweed lines the shore, creating a wall of mixed debris – broken shells, bits of wood, frayed rope and a child’s plastic bucket. I wonder what stories the debris could tell.

Stepping over the seaweed wall, the waves rush in to kiss my feet and then, hurry away like an embarrassed lover.

Raising my hand to shield my eyes, I watch people bobbing like colorful corks. Some scream as a mass of small fish swarm around their legs, looking like ink spilled on the water.

Above me, the clouds march across the sky like fat soldiers. They are getting ready for the loud artillery attack of the afternoon thunder showers.

Making my way back to the beach house, I find a dead crab just outside his sand hole. I sigh. So close to home and he didn’t quite make it.

But then, my studies have taught me: Like the weather, the beach is unpredictable. Each day, life and death play out on the warm white sand.

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