Tuesday, June 15, 2010
To walk in fields of gold
With beautiful understated eloquence, Ms. Moon has caught the thing perfectly in her new header. So while we are not talking about ensuring the safety of the walrus population, nor shoes nor ships nor sealing wax, I feel obliged to share this with you. If you were planning a trip to Florida, don't cancel. If you had an idea of some sparkling hot summer days, reading a fat paperback on a sunny beach, don't change your plans. As much as I complain about tourists (and I do; we all do - hell, it's a community pasttime here) visitors bring prosperity. And every one of them sees a treasure and is able to share the memories for years and years to come.
The photo at top right was taken yesterday at Guana Reserve just before sunset. There was almost no one on the beach; Rodney and I were walking, and a lone kite devotee was preparing to check the wind with what appeared to be a very sophisticated kite. This is what Rodney called "a field of gold" and so it seemed to be: long parallel lines of red shell, or coquina, stretching west to east, down to the low tide line. You can't see it in the photo, but every thread of shell shimmers as if it had its own careless scattering of tiny diamonds. I could squint and imagine carefully sown and tended crops, gleaming in sunlight.
But of course it's not a pastoral scene, but rather this pristine, gorgeous and under-utilized north Florida beach. If you're watching the news, or listening to NPR, it might be hard to form a picture in your mind of what things look like, here. Well, it looks like this. Those are my feet in the surf, with the clear water breaking over them and the hem of my skirt caught in the southeast breeze. The worst may be coming, but as Ms. Moon reminds us, we must cherish what we have, while we have it. It's perfectly beautiful, and as my poor photography demonstrates, can't really be captured in still shots. Come down. Bring the kids. Look for shells, shark teeth, turtle nests...whales, even: the county thinks there may be a few of them still in our waters, thanks to the long chilly spring. Come out and skimboard or swim or surf. Step into the warm, clear water and look to the horizon. You can just see the gentle curve of the earth, where the water meets the sky. If you were coming to see us, come on. And if you weren't planning to travel, maybe you should. Take joy in the present. We'll meet you at the beach.