As a teacher, I always envied those in other professions who took vacations at any time of the year. You know, pack your bags, tell your boss, and then vamoose .... off to exotic, warm places in the middle of January.
Well, guess where I went?
Florida -- and it's in the middle of January
What a type of freedom..... have people always been this free? I mean -- like -- just going places and not having to make lesson plans?
David and I visited our friends, Laura and Joe, who always tell us how wonderful Florida is in the winter, so we headed down to capture some of that magic ---- last week.
I have never been to Florida in the winter for any length of time -- the last time I was here -- in between Christmas and New Year's - the weather was brutal -- cold, windy, and rainy. Not once did we get to the beach -- we stayed inside, burned wood, packaged and sold by Publix, and watched bad movies.
This time -- the weather cooperated -- two days of 71 and then 66 .... It was cool -- but sunny -- and gorgeous.
David and I walked to the jetty and back [about three miles] -- and it was winter solitude.
The sandpipers and other sea fowl gathered in packs on the sand, pecking at things or just having a meeting of the "bird" brains [which means it wasn't all that smart]. Their black backs and white underbellies of these birds contrasted with the gray of the sand. Their heads bobbed up and down like one had been preaching and the others were nodding "amen."
Because there was a wind, the sand was patterned like Berber carpet --- perfect wind swirls making delicate decorative arrangements. The wind blew strongly -- enough to barely lift a layer of sand granules above the beach and for it to dance and flit across the top like gossamer curtains.
The sky was a gray blue --- streaks of jet streams cut Vs across the cirrus high clouds, and the sun was to the right as it was setting behind the muted soft colors of the beach houses. The stratus clouds lay low over the ocean side, slightly dark .... the waves broke hard, and the wind picked up the spray from the waves and slung it left and right like a sprinkler, possessed.
The activity on the beach was light -- few walkers -- ahead of us a lone woman, gray long sleeve shirt, black beachcomber pants, and barefoot --- walking away from us -- her silhouette imprinted against the backdrop like the end of a movie or the cover of a cheesy, romance novel.
The sounds of the beach are loud --- the roar of the ocean paired with the numbing sound of wind --- so much noise that all other was muted -- David resigned to pointing instead of talking --- as he noted a sailboat or fishing boat on the horizon.
The beach is therapeutic -- it's a reminder to us -- that there is beauty, there is solitude, there is a God --- it is all around us. I now have time to notice.