Friday, September 17, 2010

sand in my toes

I took my first (solo) walk on the beach today after dropping the kid off at school. I'm not sure what took me so long. I think I have been denial about living in this beautiful location. I approached our move south as another job I have to do—settle my daughter in her new school, assess what's up with my mom and help where I can, take over the running of the house, etc.

I have been coming here since I was a teenager, first to visit my grandmother, and later, to visit my mom. It was always a vacation spot—something special—and even though in the back of my mind I always knew that I would someday end up here permananetly (barring hurricane or other natural disaster), I guess I just didn't think it would be so soon, or took in what that might really mean. That I really don't need all those blankets anymore. That the ocean is right there, to be enjoyed, whenever, wherever.

Maybe I'm just a born "city gal" by mentality. I lived in New York for over a decade and never went to the Statue of Liberty. I worked in the most famous museum in Washington D.C. and didn't go through every gallery. I don't exactly take these things for granted, but ... Am I treating the ocean like it's for the tourists?

Anyway, I broke out of whatever it is this morning and took a walk on the beach. It helped that it is cloudy and breezy, perfect weather for my pale skin, which doesn't feel the need to bake (burn) in the sun. There were a few intrepid cute dude swimmers and a handful of strollers like myself. I walked a little one way, then farther the other direction, and then headed back towards home. Getting my toes wet, figuratively and literally. Before I was about to head back up the beach, to the street, to home,  I paused to let the waves rinse off my toes and then ... a school of fish washed up around my feet.
There were tons of them, flopping desperately on the sand. Good morning, Florida. The waves came in and washed most of them back out again. I felt helpless, yet fascinated as I watched this cycle repeat a few times before the birds—sanderlings and western sandpipers (for once I didn't have the iPhone camera with me, but I looked it up in my trusty Audubon Florida guide when I got back home)—caught on. Breakfast! I'm pretty sure that the catch of  the day were Atlantic Thread Herrings (I had to use the internets to find them.)

All told, for the time I watched this little bit of nature and the food chain in action, only five or six herrings actually bit the dust. Most were lucky enough to flop their way down the sand until a wave washed them back out to sea. I'm not sure why such a large school of little fish would come in so close to shore. But I will be continuing my observations. And getting my toes wet.

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