A Day At the Beach

Damp sand.
Watch waves roll.
Wind pulls the ear.
Listen, it says, feel me.
Sun at my back, warm, bright.
Shorebirds scurry, fast fast probe, take flight.
Beyond the waves dolphins flash, light gray blurs.
A pelican dives, comes up empty, and tries again.
The sand is soothingly cool between my toes, firmly soft.
Why am I here, I wonder, how is my being me? 
Why this spot, this desolate stretch of shore, with seaweed and shells?
A sanderling quickly trots by, and it suddenly all doesn’t matter.
In this moment all is well, the air is clear.
I can see for miles all around except behind.
Forward changes every time I turn my head.
As the sandpiper flies, I’m already there.
Sun shows the way, reveals wonder.
Wind whispers comforts, gentle mantras.
I stand, ready now.
Direction steels conviction.
First step.
I wrote this today while I was sitting on the beach at Canaveral National Seashore, playing with words. It took me much longer than it should have because I was slightly distracted about halfway through, and it was very difficult to resume my original train of thought.
If you ever go to Canaveral National Seashore, I would not recommend visiting parking lot 5, the last parking lot from the northern entrance (Apollo Beach). Not knowing any better, I parked there. I meandered down the beach a ways, then sat down to write in my journal.
Not where I sat. I have no idea how this got out here, or what it’s from.
As I was writing, an older man walks by. I glance up and wish I hadn’t. I see his feet first, sneakers, white tube socks, and then… let’s just say there was a distinct lack of material around his nether regions. It was cold out, the breeze was pretty chilly, so he also had on a windbreaker. To keep warm.
I also happened to see said gentleman again when he came off the beach (fully clothed, thank goodness; and this was completely unintentional on my part, I was trying to avoid him) and I must say he would have been sent home from Highland Middle School—his shorts were not fingertip length.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Stop 5 is where the nudists go, because it’s out on the end. The beach stretching south is undeveloped for miles, until you get to Playalinda Beach, the part of Canaveral National Seashore nearest Merritt Island NWR. There, it’s Stop 12, the furthest parking lot north, that’s the nudist part.
I’ve been told that the beach here was traditionally a nudist beach, but when the NPS took it over there was some confrontation between nudists, NPS, and the local police. Now there is an unofficial agreement that the nudists will go to the furthest stops, and no one will bother them. However, they don’t exactly have this up on a sign, so how are we innocent tourists supposed to know this?
Nude willet: acceptable. Nude old men: not so much.
Reminds me of when I was in Oregon, and we went to a hot springs alongside a stream near the field station. The pool was slightly larger than a hot tub, barely enough room for the four of us (and, actually, not all that hot). We are all in bathing suits, I should point out. A man walks up and, in front of us, proceeds to strip and then get in with us. We were sitting in the deeper, warmer parts, so he was in the ankle-deep section. Quite suddenly we all realized we were ready to head out, and quickly did so.
My eyeballs are still burning.

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