Monday, August 22, 2011


a beach in Florida
My northern family members make fun of my inability to immerse myself into the cold waters of lakes or beaches further up- the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Great Lakes. I pack a spring wetsuit when I go to Lake Michigan in summer and still I don't really like to swim there- the water is too cold. Frankly, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the shores of the Pacific to the Red Sea, I have walked on some swank beach front, but I always compare it to the sugar white sands of the Gulf of Mexico on a perfect day. Today with three dolphins frolicking in the waves of the clear blue green waters, with schools of shiny fish swimming about, and with sea shells rolling past by the hundreds, I fell for the Gulf all over again. The sandbars shifted continually, creating pools in which to swim and shallow places in which to walk and search for shells. Wearing a snorkel and mask, I floated luxuriously in the undulating water (not too warm and definitely not cold) and watched the fish and shells under the chaos of the surf. It was a perfect day at the beach made better when the Moose joined me, wearing his mask, and held my hand; we drifted as one with the tug of the surf. It felt timeless.

Picking up sea shells
I like the white sand, but it is the water and the shells that really do it for me. There is no place quite like it in terms of the temperature of the water, the shifting sandbars, and the lives present from the seagulls to the dolphins to the schools of fish to the seashells. I suspect the shells are coming in because a storm is brewing in the wider Gulf, perhaps pushing them ashore. The Mule's thrill at finding the dolphins in the wild will be remembered for a while considering she wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up. Admittedly, after the attractions of the manmade summer conveniences I had wondered if the beach would captivate them as it had me in my childhood.

There needs to be better sun gear for swimming mothers though. My kids have great sun shirts with long sleeves to protect them. The shirts match their swim suits and fit well. Sun shirts do not work on women or more pointedly on breast. Someone needs to design fashionable sun protective swim wear for women. Wearing a swim shirt just doesn't work- they flow about and feel unpleasant. A bathing suit should be available that protects you from the sun, that you can swim in, and that fits attractively. Why is it there are four hundred of the same things for sale, plunging necklines for example, but not one of something different? I am going on my yogurt rant here- have you ever noticed how many kinds of low fat, no fat fruit flavored yogurts you can buy in an American grocery store? Take a look. Then go back and try to find full fat plain yogurt- the original real product all those others are based on- there is usually only one choice if your lucky. It always riles me up.
Finding Sea Shells at the beach

Dinner was fried potatoes and a green salad with the remaining bottle of Japanese dressing for the munsters. I added goat cheese, walnuts, and tomatoes to the salad for the grownups. We ate this with the leftovers from the weekend grill. It seemed a satisfactory yet easy day on many fronts.

There is something primordial about the push and pull of the surf. I am so grateful for our perfect day at the beach. It has some how restored my buoyancy, my ability to come up in the midst of our long break from home.

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