beach day (in February)

I seriously cannot express how badly I needed today.  Too much work, too much school, too much math, too much of being cold, too much of having a cold.

The kid and I woke up and made two kinds of french toast – vanilla/cinnamon & nutella.  There’s no better way to start the day!  It was too beautiful of a morning to stay indoors, so I rigged up the buckets and sponges and Elle and I got to work washing the car.  There was so much pollen in the suds that the bubbles were actually yellow.  It’s disgusting.  Until lovebug season comes around…then that becomes disgusting.

For a few hours this afternoon, Elle was at a birthday party for one of her classmates.  C just moved here from Michigan and can’t believe that she now lives in a place where birthday parties can be held outdoors in the winter time.  So she and Elle and a few other kids from school spent a good part of the day shooting hoops (Elle got 97 baskets!), swinging and sliding at the playground, and otherwise running around like hyped-up kids who’ve had way too much cake, ice cream, and pop. I heard another mother mention the possibility of breakin’ out some Benadryl if their own kid wouldn’t be able to fall asleep tonight.  We all laughed but inside we were all thinking…I’ve done that before.  It works.

I invited another classmate to come with Elle and me to the beach.  I knew we wouldn’t be there too long as it was getting close to dinnertime, but the last time I went to the beach was an absolute disaster.  A wind chill and winter jacket were not part of the equation today.  Instead, the temps were in the 80s and the sun was shining at full force.  Basically, it was perfect.  And I needed to assure myself that my child was going to be tuckered out after ingesting all that birthday party sugar.

Thirty minutes later, we were there.  And it was perfect!  Except the girls froze a little bit while playing around in the waves but, don’t worry, I only let them stay in for about 15 minutes.  This decision ensured my drive home would be filled with, “But it didn’t feel like 15 minutes.  Besides, it wasn’t even cold!” as they chattered their teeth and try to not chomp off their blue-ish lips.  (I guess their lips were numb enough, anyway…would it have made a difference?)

 In these dunes live the endangered gopher tortoise.  They’re fairly big animals.  My first encounter was about twelve years ago while driving on State Road 26, heading back to my home in Newberry, Florida from visiting my grandparents on the Gulf Coast.  I went to pass the vehicle ahead of me and, accidentally – repeat – accidentally!!! – ran over one that was trying to cross the highway.  Repeat – ENDANGERED animal.  Damn.  And I cried all the way home and apologized to the tortoise and his little tortoise soul that, at the time, I believed was still stuck to my car as long as parts of the body were.  Whew…I just ruined a good beach day story with a gory tale of how I killed a member of an endangered species.  Sorry. Uh…back to the beach!

So this is Peters Point on Amelia Island.  If you’ve never been to Amelia, you should really give it a chance.  Jacksonville Beach is pretty much swarming with homeless people and other…uh, eccentrics who make me nervous if I’m not watching my child at all times. Amelia Island is peaceful, quiet, uncrowded.  And Peters Point is pretty much right down the road from the Ritz Carlton and is the view from the multimillion dollar condos behind the lifeguard chairs.  I don’t have to worry about much out here.

I used to work here, on this island.  When I first came to Jacksonville, I found a job as an accountant working with the homeowner’s associations and condominium associations for Northeast Florida’s top resort.  My morning commute involved being stuck in traffic while staring at the marsh during sunrise.  For my lunchbreak, I could head over to Peters Point and walk the beach (I didn’t do it often, but the fact that I could was such a comfort).  Sometimes, I would just walk the grounds nearby the resort…under the canopy of oak trees and Spanish moss.  I miss it.

I miss being at the beach everyday. 

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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