I scribbled this out in my notebook while getting toasted on New Smyrna Beach, Saturday, August 11. It’s mostly practicing the art of noticing details and creating a sense of place in my writing. Like it as is. Don’t know what to do with it. Posting here, with minimal editing for coherence.
There are some places we feel most alive. The ocean is mine.
I don’t know why even the most noisy, crowded, touristy beach can feel like home. Maybe it really is all the people that help it come awake, at least today.
Tall women bronzed by the sun to the color of caramelized sugar.
A middle-aged couple, tanned and fit, speeding their bicycles along the waves.
Children defending sandcastles in colorful swimwear like armor, one even in full Batman gear — boots, cape, and all.
An older couple under an umbrella, hand in hand. How many sunsets have they watched together here?
Young kids with boogie boards and surfer girls riding waves back to solid earth, accepting the risk that comes with the adventure.
I smell salt, sand, and coconut lotion. The surf never ends her song.
She’s a siren, this ocean, like the ones in those ancient legends. She beckons us in, further, deeper. She pushes us back, because our fragile bones can’t handle the weight.
I want to stay here forever, splashing clumsy in the waves, letting her defy gravity for me. Maybe we weren’t made to always walk on solid ground. Maybe we were made to float as well, and this is God’s gift to remind us.
I thought there would be a storm today, but instead, only wispy strokes of gray and white on endless blue upon blue mark the sky, and the edge of foam draws the line between sand and churning surf. I am mostly glad, though I would love to see a storm at sea someday.
For now, only sun, sweat, and my best SPF 50 efforts against sunburn are here to stain my notebook and blur the ink.
My beach read? N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope. Fitting to read about renewal and recreation and hope here, in the face of one of God’s most beautiful created gifts. Wild, ancient, and so unsafe, yet constantly being made new.
I wonder if it’s time to return home, back to solid ground yet. The green sea beckons me to stay, but real life beckons me home.
The water pushes closer to our camps and claims. The sea still reigns.