Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday morning brought no gibbous moon peeking through the clouds while the sun tinted the sky, but instead was lit by the distant crashes of an electrical storm too far from shore for us to hear indoors.

So of course i had to go out.

Standing as near to the edged of the overhangs and balconies as i could, i watched and listened to the tussle of the shore.  The metal grommets on the hazardous surf warning flag beat a war tattoo on the flagpole more or less continually all day and became the background rhythm of the whole day at any point that i was outdoors to hear it.

Distant thunder rumbled as if a giant were waking up and turning over in his sleep, subdued but not to be trifled with.  It echoed against the crashing waves and the weather fought with the sea, reminding me of why the ancients thought they were brother gods always quarreling with each other.

The only other person out in the area was the park ranger, on the dune rider as usual, making rounds to check the loggerhead turtle nests that dot the shore like the beacons of hope for the species that they are.  There are huge sections of the island set aside as state parks, of course, but the turtles lay where they will and the rangers scour the whole area and mark off the nests with wooden slats and red "crime scene" style tape, attaching dire warnings to any who would disturb the hallowed sand within.

There was little rain, just a sprinkle, and it stopped and the lightning was over and i walked the beach as the wind pushed and buffeted me and it was as exhilarating as the sunrises here are beautiful.

The day lightened and the sun even peeked out on occasion, but the wind never died down, the clouds never truly dispersed, and as it was our last day and we had little to do but enjoy ourselves, that's what we did.

My method of doing that is to sit under the waterfall of the outdoor pool, stretched out on a lounge chair, towel folded behind me to act as a pillow, small throw blanket over me because even in Florida in the summer i never quite thaw out unless i'm exercising and certainly not under the waterfall, doing crossword and variety puzzles.

The only interruption to the day occurred when #2 Son decided he wanted to go to the store to prepare a surprise for the evening, and he needed ingredients.  As the mom i dutifully hauled my two youngest offspring, and Teresa whom they specifically asked along, to the grocery store, which is a haul from the island.  Equally dutifully i shut my eyes while they went through the store picking up what they needed.  A surprise is only fun if you let it be one.

On the way there, #2 Son asked, "Are we going to stop at the Wal-Mart tomorrow on the way home?  I need more boxers and I forgot to get them when we were there before."

Yes, i told him, we will stop there as we always do.

He then added, "Yeah, I only have 3 pair now, so I need more.

To my query of why i hadn't seen any of said boxers he did have in the laundry during the vacation, he answered, "Because I've been wearing them.  Besides, I've kept them on under my swim suit in the Gulf and in the pool, and so between the salt water and the chlorine, I figured they were clean enough."

Sixteen-year-old boys can still flabbergast me.

On the way back, he admitted he was making a Baked Alaska, the way i had taught him in cooking class.  That explained why Teresa had to be there -- she's the only one old enough to buy the rum.

When i jokingly inquired if this whole Baked Alaska scheme was just a ploy to get booze, his answer was, "Maybe."

At which point i asked Teresa how much she had bought, and she responded, "Oh, not a whole lot."

"Wrong answer!" Little Girl chimed in, and we were all laughing.


The bottle was the smallest they make, and he used it all in the flaming, i made sure of it.

By evening time, when everyone else was inside watching movies and relaxing for the last evening, i could not resist the call of the waves once again.  My evening beach walk was wilder even than the morning had been, as if the sun had kept the storm away and now that he turned his back, the weather could do all its will.  The water was warm on my feet and legs, the wind cold enough that i pulled a jacket close around me, and i watched the salt water swirl, the salt water that is the most chemically close substance to our blood on the planet, the water i long for all the year, as if it is our mother and maybe in some ways it is.  Did we all come from the ocean's salty brine?

So i walked and walked, and listened to the eerie call of the sea that it only makes when it sounds like it is calling for something it lost, and i walked sometimes with the wind, but more often against, until it was very dark and i felt the slight sprinkle of rain that told me the storm was come.  The wind blew me toward the shore, the raindrops getting bigger and bigger as i got closer to the sprinklers where we wash the sand away.

As i got under cover, the rain began in earnest, and i watched it pelt the streets and houses on the other side of the bay while riding the glass elevator up to our floor.

Really i could have stood on that shore for hours more, watching the eternal battle of wind and rain and sky and ocean and i felt like i was standing on the edge of forever.


Today is

Accession Day -- Jordan

Belmont Stakes -- Belmont, NY, US (144th Annual)

Billy the Kid Tombstone Race -- Fort Sumner, New Mexico (racers carry an 80 pound tombstone through an obstacle course! a tribute to the number of times the tombstone has been stolen over the years)

Donald Duck Day -- his screen debut was today in 1934

International Young Eagles Day -- Experimental Aircraft Association members and chapters focus on providing introductory flights to children 8-17

La Rioja Day -- La Rioja, Spain

Murcia Day -- Murcia, Spain

National Heroes Day -- Uganda

National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day

Purple People Eater Day -- Sheb Wooley's hit reached #1 this date in 1958

Queen's Birthday -- Pitcairn Islands (leave it to the descendants of mutineers to celebrate on a different day from the rest of the Commonwealth!)

Sjalvstyrelsedagen -- Aland Islands (Self-Governing Day)

St. Columbia of Iona's -- Celtic Christian, today is one of the luckiest days of the year to superstitious Highland Scots, especially propitious if it's a Thursday (Patron of bookbinders, poets; Ireland; Scotland; Pemboke, Ontario, Canada; against floods)

St. Ephraem's Day (creator of hymns; Patron of spiritual directors, spiritual leaders; Syria)

Turtle Races -- Danville, IL, US (48th annual; proceeds go to help the disabled in the community)


Anniversaries Today:

Nero marries Claudia Octavia, 53
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito marries Masako Owada, 1993


Birthdays Today:

Natalie Portman, 1981
Johnny Depp, 1963
Michael J. Fox, 1961
Dick Vitale, 1940
Jackie Mason, 1928
Les Paul, 1915
Robert Cummings, 1910
Cole Porter, 1891


Today in History:

Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide, 68
Odo of Aquitaine defeats the Moors in the Battle of Toulouse, 721
Jacques Cartier is the first European to discover the Saint Lawrence River, 1534
The Harvard Corporation is established as the first corporation in the Americas, 1650
James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia, 1732
The Congress of Vienna, forerunner of the League of Nations and the UN, ends with much of Europe's borders redrawn and settled, Switzerland's neutrality confirmed, and free navigation guaranteed on many rivers, 1815
Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts, 1856
Alexandra Palace in London burns down after being open for only 16 days, 1873
China agrees to lease Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years, 1898
Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey, becomes the first woman to drive across the United States, 1909
Queen Elizabeth II officially opens London Gatwick Airport, 1958
Israel captures the Golan Heights from Syria, 1967
Secretariat wins the Triple Crown, 1973
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) opens its priesthood to black males after 148 years, 1978
The British lease of Hong Kong expires, 1997
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO sign a peace treaty, 1999
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, six women were arrested for practicing driving in an empty car lot; women are banned from driving on the road, 2011

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