I’m sitting here on St. George, a tiny island off the coast of northwest Florida, feeling lethargic and yet sort of cute in my new pink bikini with a little skull and crossbones on the bum. There is nobody else on this beach except for my husband, who is dozing silently beside me, the smile on his face only slightly faded by sleep.
The warm water of the Gulf of Mexico changes the landscape of the beach every day–today, long clumps of seaweed are strewn across the sand, and shallow vales hold pockets of saltwater and a few bewildered pinfish. The surf is so calm that the waves don’t break until just a foot from shore, then slide silently up to surprise jittery sandpipers.
Dolphins, a pod, maybe eight to ten, are feeding so close to shore that I can hear their explosive watery exhalations and can see the underside of their tails as they smack the water. I could wade out and swim with them they are so close, but I am too lazy and happy where I am.
Dragonflies, a seemingly endless supply of them spawned from somewhere up-island, stream in front of me, going down-island to do–what? Two of them grapple in mid-air. Fighting? Mating? I realize that I don’t know anything about the mating habits of dragonflies, and I don’t know why, but I feel it is something I should know. I decide that they were mating, and I know that I will, at some point, tell someone this as though it is fact, though I have no idea if it really is.
I occasionally notice butterflies in the midst of the dragonflies. They stand out because they are bright yellow and are going in the opposite direction, up-island, as though the insects have agreed to switch sides of the island each morning and afternoon, like some etymological rush hour. If I come out early tomorrow morning will I see the same thing, only reversed? I’ll never know, because I don’t plan on getting up early for the next couple of weeks.
My feet pat the hot sand in front of my chair into a slanted ottoman, revealing a valley of moist, cool sand directly behind it, and my feet split their time between the warm rill of dry sand and the valley. My feet are snowbirds, heading for the warm when they get chilled, back to the cool when they get hot.
We are still alone on this beach, and I feel like an actor in a Corona commercial. Except I don’t have a Corona. I have a Zephyrhills Spring Water. It is the perfect temperature, and it is the perfect way to hydrate my body. But I wish fervently for a Corona, with a brilliant green wedge of lime squeezed and stuffed down into the bottle so that I have to work for each fizzy taste.
Then a dolphin breaks the water so close to me that I see its smile, another pair of mating dragonflies buzz past my knees, and the sun slips behind a cloud, filling the beach with shadows and the promise of a cool evening, and I understand that to wish for anything other than what is right in front of me at this moment is a sacrilege.
To see more pictures of my perfect vacation, go here and click on Photo Gallery…
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