Along the path to the Gulf we admired trees that don’t grow in Indiana–for Midwesterners, this is the stuff of postcards and screensavers. And yet, there we were, walking right past them, on our way to dig holes in the sand and make drip castles.Friday night we all took a long walk to what eventually became known as “Hermit Crab Cove,” near the place formerly known as my lonely place, which wasn’t such a lonely place after all. The walk back to the palm-lined path was lovely in the late-afternoon light, in spite of the clumps of seaweed washed ashore from whatever storm preceded our visit, stirred the sea, left that poor sea turtle stranded, and made for murky waters all week.The general sentiment on Saturday morning, as we walked that same path toward Hermit Crab Cove was expressed on the sand in another message:We were melancholy, wanting to linger and squeeze every last moment of beachy happiness out of our vacation, waiting until the last minute to pack up and drive off. We strolled, scribbled in the sand, admired the morning sun glinting off the water, watched a bird or two patter along the water’s edge, and checked out a brittle shell.Then someone glanced back and saw the sky behind us:Okay. Enough happiness.Time to run!A vacation bracketed by rain–on the first day, and the last.The fun is over.We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts…
It’s a nature bonanza here on the coast of Florida!
Last night, we fell asleep to an owl’s hooting. As I walked to the bath house this evening at dusk, I heard a mockingbird going nuts, singing a crazy medley of migrating birdsongs one after another fast and furious.
This Great Blue Heron hangs around near the fishermen. So regal. He moves with smooth confidence.
Fishermen along the beach keep plucking things from the water—things we’re not sure we want to know are swimming nearby. One boasted that he caught a stingray, a sand shark, and a sea turtle. We weren’t sure what to think, since the information first came to us via the fisherman’s 8-year-old son. Exaggeration?
Then we watched his line go taut and he started reeling in, struggling, pulling, reeling.
This is what he pulled out.
This impressive ray was about two feet wide.
This fellow provided me with my first “faces-in-places” shot; but I’m not sure it counts, as it actually is his face, if a stingray can have a face. Oh, and if you’re squeamish, maybe scroll past. He’s just had a hook plucked from his mouth.
He looks so sad, doesn’t he? He deserves to be sad, snagged from his home like that by a sport fisherman.
I think he’s crying.
I decided to share my lonely place with my extended family. My brother and I walked with the kids around the bend to what we coined “The Cove,” and there the kids discovered a sandbar. As they walked out to the sandbar in knee-deep water, they saw beautiful shells, perfectly formed. Plucking them from the water, they discovered that the shells weren’t empty.
They found dozens of hermit crabs in the shallow water of the cove of the lonely place.
Even I found one and took a self-portrait with him–he’s a little camera shy. Or maybe he’s embarrassed to be seen with the lady wearing that ridiculous red sun hat.
On our way back to the main beach, my brother and I were in front of the kids. I spotted a jellyfish. At first, I straddled it, so that they kids wouldn’t accidentally step on it.
“Kids!” my brother called out, “watch out for the jellyfish!”
They didn’t hear us or weren’t paying much attention, so to visually alert them, I used my toe to draw a big circle around it in the sand.
They were delighted with this communication, and started writing and drawing circles of all kinds. Here’s what our walk back ended up looking like:
The Boy saw all the scribbling and pictures, and starting drawing fish. “The kind that the Christians used to draw.”
“They called it an ‘ichthus,’” I said.”Oh! I wonder if people will see all my ichthuses and think, ‘Hey, somebody’s a Christian!’”
Then he saw all the messages his sisters and cousins were writing, and inspiration hit.
“Wait right here, Mama! Do NOT look at what I’m doing!”
He ran down the beach a short distance, then ran back to me.
“How do you spell ‘love’?”
He repeated it to himself. “L-O-V-E.”
I repeated it. “L-O-V-E.”
He repeated it and took off to his spot. “Are you looking? Wait! Don’t look!”
“I’m not looking.”
He ran back to me. “How do you spell ‘you’?”
“Y-O-U…Y-O-U.” He ran to his spot repeating it. “Y-O-U. Hold on. Almost ready. Okay!”