Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stormy Seas

The day started out picture perfect: blue sky, tannish sand, balmy breeze. Everything you want a vacation day to be; just enough of everything and nothing in excess. Bright but not blinding, hot but not boiling, breezy but not gale-force blowing. Perfect.

We spent the morning standing on the Apache Pier, gazing off into the vast expanse of the Atlantic. Lost in its rhthym. Quiet in its presence. Straight in front of us a pod of dolphins frolicked in our view. Several pods of them, actually. Breeching out of the water, skin shimmering in the sunlight. To our left a sea turtle floated idolly by, dipping beneath the glassy surface of the calm water and occasionally poking his head far above the water for a better view of something that had obtained his interest. To our right a flock of seagalls bobbed lazily together, a large group in the water. They made me think of a group old chums with their constant squawking. Perhaps they too were sharing the daily gossip and remincising days gone by over snippets of the silverfish that foolishly showed themselves. Below our feet schools of needlefish darted here and there, always in search of something that we couldn't quite make out. It was always just out of our eyesight, but very clearly within theirs.

As we made our way back to our hotel "home", the wind stirred behind us. Looking back from the direction we had come, the air shirred with haze and the movement of current and changing tempreture. The stillness of the air around us dropped to our feet, replaced by an electricity that hastened our pace, pushing our feet forward.

We reached our room before the first booms of thunder sounded across the shoreline. From the safety of our balcony we watched as a line of dark, churning clouds marched across the ocean in front of us, covering the blue sky and brightness with heavy, dark clouds. Dark. Heavy.

The wind picked up, swirling the clouds and pulling them from the ocean's now rippled, chaotic surface and enveloping them into their billowing depths. Swirling rolls of fast moving clouds rolled before our eyes, making their way down the beach in one magnificent push. The thunder sounded and the lightning streaked from the surface of the water, illuminating the dark clouds above.

As the first wave of exotic clouds paraded past, they pulled a veil of rain behind them. Drenching, blowing rain that obscured everything around us. It blew past the buildings, forming a white mist as the wind whipped it past. We were enveloped in a cloud of persistent rain.

Beach umbrellas left open were buffeted in the wind, pulling the fabric and exposing the white shaking skeletons beneath. We kept waiting to see one uproot and take flight, but alas, they all stayed snug in their spots.

The waves rose up, forming lines of white caps far out from the shore. They rushed in, crashing heavily on themselves as they made their way to the beachfront. In their fury, small fish were swept up along with a tangle of seaweed; all to be deposited along with seashells along the shore.

And then it was gone. Just as quickly as the wind whipped up the world, it calmed back down again. The clouds, like Sherman's army, marched forcifully on their way down the shore, gathering up stray clouds and pulling them along the way.  The sky cleared. The sun came out from hiding. The beach refilled with umbrellas, brightly colored beach towels, and people.

And it's calm now. Again.

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