It was an easy choice. White snow or white sand. Cold blue air or warm blue waters. Warm thoughts or cold thoughts. It was so easy.
Drifting off to sleep as water lapped against the sand, an oh-so-gentle swish of scrub oaks as breezes off the ocean moved silently past the cabin, we had landed in our dream with sandals, tee shirts and shorts.
First hours of light the next day found us on the beach. Sea shelling was a given. Coffee mug in one hand and shells in the other, we had to make a conscious effort to pace ourselves. Giddy with an unknown energy, we breathed in the salty cool morning air. Bird sounds could be heard muffled by the surf.
Shore birds fed to the west of us. Chicks were no longer short-legged babes. Flocks included teenagers and parents, both age groups happy for winter’s freedom to roam. Over the golden sunrise a great blue heron glided by on his way to the shallows across the bay. Scrub oak and magnolias could be seen, twisted by salty winds, filling in wherever roots could keep hold of something deep below. Gnarly, a rough and tumble word, came to mind. Our days were gnarly back home, but here, smoothed out and softened, nerves were no longer frayed.
Hubby tried to draw our attention to the mourning doves. We have those at home. It didn’t seem right to have them here too. We decided to ignore him and explore the sea oats along the dunes.
Although the large, golden seed heads were harvested by winds a few months ago, tall leaves with feathery tops swayed in the morning air. We touch the tops as we picture birds and mice gathering seeds for breakfast. Pygmy burrowing owls nest within the larger stands later in the spring. We know not to disturb the plants, they are protected by law, seeing as how they are the key element in erosion control and shore stabilization.
In late afternoon, using the boardwalk that led to a rocky outcropping, we found a small pool of salty water within which was seaweed and what appeared to be baby crabs. They scuttled away from our fingers as we reached to explore the tiny pool. Emerald surf rolled around us, lapping against the rocks and issuing a fine mist. The rocks were warm with the day’s sun. Time slowed down like honey dripping off a spoon into a hot cup of tea.
Hubby again made comment about the mourning doves. Ignoring him, we moved onward toward the sounds of gulls. Someone was feeding them. We decided to sit and watch. Screaming gulls can be a little intense overhead.
Evening fell as gently as the day started. Sunlight slowly ebbed over distant waves. Sunset oranges and reds followed a flock of gulls as they flew off to their roost. A faintly familiar aroma mixed with evening mugs of coffee. Somehow it smelled like cooking oatmeal. There was hubby, the mourning doves were back. Something about him going sea-shelling. No, it sounded like he said snow-shoveling. No, that couldn’t be right.
We’re on vacation. It is warm and sunny. The water is blue, the sky yellow. Something about where did I hide the oats? That can’t be right. The sea oats are right out there on the dunes. Hubby is making breakfast? Cooking oatmeal. He is tugging at my sleeve. Wake up? I am awake. No, you’re not. Wake up. You’ve been dreaming. Talking in your sleep. Something about a vacation on the beach. Yeah, right. Here, drink this coffee. Make your way to the window where you’ll find birds under the feeder, snow coming down, air a cold-blue. Don’t let the oatmeal burn. I’ll be back in soon. January can play tricks on your mind.
It was such a sweet dream. It was an easy choice. White sand, soft white sand squishing up through our toes, warm blue waters, warm thoughts, all in a sweet, sweet dream.
Photos by Russell L. Moore
Contact Connie at mooredcr@Juno.com