Sunday, June 30, 2019

RIP Beach Reads

Not for the first time, I was reminded that I bloom at the beach.

Much as I appreciate the compliment, I'm not sure it's a trait worthy of praise. After all, who wouldn't thrive when they can see and hear the ocean day and night, gently unwinding the stresses accumulated since the last beach week in May? What's not to love about getting up and putting on a bathing suit as the official attire for the entire day?

And truly, who wouldn't be all aglow when she gets to shower outdoors every afternoon?

Although my favorite guest teased me daily about the focus on food - we were seldom more than an hour past the last meal when someone wanted to know when (and what) the next one would be - it's kind of nice to have nothing more to think about than what you feel like eating next. That all meals are taken on the screened-in porch with a side of ocean breezes doesn't hurt a girl's mood, either.

So when a guest looks over at you while you chew a Tootsie Roll on the beach half an hour after lunch and casually refers to you as "an eating machine," well, I guess I'll just have to live with that.

The weather all week was ideal for blooming: breezy, sunny (but never hotter than 89) and dropping down in the low '70s at night. Just as good was the ocean temperature which started the week at 70 degrees, took a brief nose-dive to 64, then rebounded with 75, 73, 71 and 72, ensuring that we spent time morning and afternoon bathing in the sea like some Victorian prescription for good health.

Wednesday afternoon, our water fun was interrupted when we saw dozens of people congregating further down the beach. Just in case they'd spotted something we hadn't, we dutifully trooped out of the water and made our way toward the onlookers, noticing thousands of tiny fish lying near death on the shore, some of them still twitching futilely yards from the surf. Not far out in the ocean was a feeding frenzy of epic proportions with larger fish jumping in and out of the water as they repeatedly dove for dinner, putting on a show for the entire beach.

I'm not smart enough to know why all the little fish wound up on shore dying, but surely there was a connection to the all-you-can-eat buffet we were witnessing.

In other tragic news, one thing that's become quite clear about my last five beach sojourns going back to May 2018 is that the days of me finishing 3 or 4 books in a week have ended. In fact, let's have a moment of silence for my love of beach reading, which apparently died a quiet death last year despite my resolve to still tote at least four more books than I have any realistic hope of reading.

The only thing that makes it bearable is that reading time has been replaced with conversation time, so I tell myself that's my consolation.

Maybe part of the reason I'm so happy at the beach is the steady diet of bubbly and seafood. Whether it was a dolphin boat with hushpuppies from John's Drive-in, rare tuna sashimi at Ocean Boulevard, local shrimp from Carawan Seafood savored on the porch or a crabcake rolled in coconut flakes and panko enjoyed at Art's Place while live music played, we definitely did our part to support the local fishing economy.

On my walk one morning after breakfast, I spotted a woman sitting on the beach with a bottle of bubbles and a large bubble wand. Without taking her eyes off the ocean, she'd periodically dip the wand in the jar and hold it up, allowing the breeze to push out scores of bubbles with zero effort on her part.

Meanwhile, kids in her vicinity were having a ball running around the sand with bubbles coming at them from one side and the surf pounding the shore on the other, both reasons to scream with delight.

When it comes to showing my happiness level, I'm past the screaming stage. Unlike the kids in the bubble clouds, it's enough for me to just revel in it all: every open window framing the blues and greens of ocean and sky, the constant sound of the surf crashing down onshore, and, best of all, every wave that slapped me full on, leaving behind a mouthful of salt water.

Why, it's enough to make even an eating machine bloom.

No comments:

Post a Comment