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Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Other Water Like It

Salt water is a very sensual pleasure. Usually, I can smell the richness of the ocean long before I actually see it. Often as I cross the dunes, I am amazed at the subtle colors of the waters along the beach. Depending on the day, sometimes I can hear the crashing waves well before my skin reacts to the water temperature. Then if the temperature is just right, and my whole body makes it into the water, it is normal to get a taste of salt water. When you put all this together with the anticipation that builds as we near a beach, it is understandable that salt water evokes intense feelings especially when the water has the clarity and color that is common along the Crystal Coast. It is no wonder that people have a hard time leaving our shores and cannot wait to visit again.
I wish that I could remember back to my first beach visit, but all I have are the stories from my mother. It is much easier to recall the wonder experienced by our granddaughter who will turn two this August. Since we live here at the beach, she has been blessed with a number of opportunities to sample salt water at an early age.

Our granddaughter's second visit was just before her first birthday. I still remember the amazement in her eyes as her mother and aunt held her hands as she walked into the surf for the first time. The next evening, she had traded the white sundress for a bathing suit. She enjoyed just sitting in the sand and letting the gentle waters splash her legs.

The next year she brought her own beach chair, and I watched her taste the salt water as she molded sand figures. The vastness of the ocean must have been hard to take in since she preferred her chair turned towards the beach. Maybe she enjoyed being surprised as the small waves washed around her feet.

When I was over on the shore this past week, I knew what to expect as I pulled into the parking lot at Third Street Beach around three PM. First I knew the sun had baked the sand to the point that sandals would be required to cross over to the damp sand. Even with sandals, I did a little dance across the hot sand.

I had read a Facebook entry from a friend that the surf temperature was around eighty degrees, so I knew that the water would feel pleasantly cool on my skin. My feet definitely needed some cooling.

The one thing that I could not predict was the color of the waters. I had a sense that my visit might coincide with one of those afternoons when the water's color almost defies description, but there was no guarantee until I crossed the dunes and saw what the sky had painted on the waters.

It turned out to be a very nice time to be standing in the waves taking pictures. Even with the thousands upon thousands of wave pictures that I have taken, I managed to take a few new favorites.

These water pictures will help trigger pleasant thoughts of my early July 2010 beach walk. It will be memorable just as many others have been.

Maybe the memories stay fresh because salt water got in my veins during those early visits to the beach with my family. Perhaps that is why I love those moments on the beach in the warm salt water. The beach brings back thoughts of family members long gone.

Still, sometimes I could use an explanation for why I never seem to lack an excuse for making a trip across the bridge and up the Island. Mostly I just fall back on the truth. I love the salt water, beaches, and all that goes with a trip across the dunes.

Seeing water like I captured in the photo at the top is one of life's great pleasures, and no one charges admission. It is even possible to indulge yourself more than once in a day. Two trips in one day make for an especially nice set of memories.

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