Sea Oats

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Secret Spot

I follow a trail in the sand, so little used that grass has grown over it in most places. The mangroves and hardwood trees form a canopy that lets the sunlight ripple shadows across low growing plants edging the path.

Above me the slightest breeze rustles the leaves, but the breeze never reaches me. I expect more bugs, no- see- ums and other biting nasties, but except for the occasionally flitting butterfly, bugs are remarkably absent.

The smell of hot sand reaches me and just above the rustle of the leaves, the soft rolling sound of waves lays an undercurrent around me. I can see a glimpse of the beach ahead. The soft green of the undergrowth gives way to crisp white.

I step out onto the sand and immediately regret not even wearing flip flops. Man, is that hot! I run almost on my toes to keep the soles of my feet from catching fire. Finally, the Gulf.

Crystal water runs around my ankles. I look out to where the sky folds into the sea. If I had a job, I’d buy a boat and be out there, and  pelicans, who, if they were a more aggressive species, go by in what would be called a strafing run formation. Bet the sand is too hot for them too. 

I climb back up the sandy shore line and find a place not to far from the water’s edge. As I throw my backpack down in relief, and I don’t carry much, I glance around. What’s that about a half mile off? Is that a person? I glance at the sand with accusation, but there are no foot prints in the area, so I don’t feel betrayed by my secret spot.

There are no buildings here. No stands selling beach fare or Mylar balloons or even suntan lotion. No man made intrusions.

A gull flies low overhead. She was obviously trained by tourists that anyone who stands upright is a lunch wagon. Sorry to disappoint. She yells at me as she wheels up the beach towards the intruder.

Two hours later, crispy from the sun, but not caring about aging skin, I break out some watermelon I brought. That and a stick of Juicy Fruit gum are all I have in my back pack to eat. My girlfriend says I should lose weight, until she needs something heavy lifted, then it’s you’re so big and strong.

Three and a half hours and no one has disrupted my view of the Gulf.

My secret spot still is.

For those of you who have to know, yes this a real place on the Gulf Coast of Florida between Sarasota and Cedar Key.