Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Searching for the Perfect Shell, Wave, and Beach

I could have walked further along the beach of Gilchrist, Texas if I didn’t stop frequently to search for the perfect sea shell. I want ones without chips or holes. Size doesn’t matter. So I walk with my head down and eyes alert. Sometimes, I will nudge a shell with my toe to dislodge it from the sand. I’ll bend to examine it. If it catches my eye, I slip it in my pocket. I start out thinking that I’ll just collect a few shells, but it always turns out that my pockets are bulging by the end of my beach walk. Shells are my mementos of the beaches I visit.

When I am in the water, I am searching for the perfect wave. I like the ones that lift me up so my feet cannot touch the sandy bottom, bobbing me like a buoy, then setting me down to wait for the next one. When the water gets rough, I like the waves that will let me body surf and carry me to shore on their crest. And, then after my legs get tired and the salt burns my eyes and nose, I like to sit in the sand along the shoreline where the waves send gentle ripples lapping around me.

What makes a perfect beach? Grassy dunes, smooth sand, rolling waves, and no one around –these characteristics make a perfect beach. Ed and I found such a spot in Gilchrist just behind the bright blue beach house. That’s where we laid our towels. That’s where we sat to dry in the sun before returning to the coach. That’s where we boondocked on our second night at this Texas beach. Ed had asked a man at the VFW to recommend a spot quieter than the church. The man turned out to be a member of the Town Council. He hopped in his truck to lead us to his brother-in-laws place where the city had just paved a short stretch of road from the highway to the dunes. He surprised us when he took us to the bright blue house on the perfect beach we had enjoyed earlier in the day!

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