The kids had to get their feet wet. I knew they'd get their jeans wet, too, but there was no fighting it. We'd deal with the sand and the dampness later.
It wasn't really beach weather, as evidenced by the windbreakers and sweatshirts, but when would we have another chance to be in the ocean?
I left them to play with about a dozen parental warnings about riptides and rogue waves, trusting their hydrophobic anthropoid instincts to carry them through. They're careful kids. I walked and felt the foam with my toes, walked and felt the sand with my tired feet, studied my prints and made some more.
We made two visits to the beach at Cape Canaveral. The second time, they wore bathing suits under their shorts.
What is it about the ocean that can soothe us and make us delight in just being there, being alive, walking and thinking about nothing and everything at once?
Is it the rush of the ocean mother's heartbeat in our chests and ears? Is it the half-remembered origin of life coming to the fore? I watched my children walk and talk, knowing that before long the leggy blonde boy would tower over his statuesque sister.
Neither of them believes me when I say that.
For now, Phoebe is content to let her brother crack her up as he meets the ocean in a power-slide.
She turns to laugh with me as, caught clowning and off guard, he tumbles down...
and then, being Phoebe, helps him back up.
She was 3 1/2 when he came into the world, and it was clear she was ready to care for someone else. I'll always be grateful that they get along so well.
I watch them as the brown pelicans glide by. I am never without something beautiful to watch.
I want to paint the perfection of this young pelican in watercolors; I know just which colors I'd choose.
I mix them in the mind's palette.
Thank you for your perfect wing, your unfathomable ghastly grace; your flat doll's eye and impossible bill.
You surf the waves with a few dynamic flaps and endless sails, riding on a pillow of air just over the water's surface.