We have been camping at Grayton Beach State Park since Tuesday. The day after we arrived, the rain moved in. Looking out of our windows at the bleak skies, we were disappointed. We were eager to see the beach. Situated on Santa Rosa Island, the coastline here is known for its pristine, white shores.
We used to call rain “liquid sunshine” when we camped with our young sons years ago. We were often in tents that tended to drip from condensation during inclement weather, and later in our pop-up trailer, water would pool on the perimeter of the extensions during rain storms, sometimes soaking sleeping bags if we weren’t careful to fold them away from the sides. We always still managed to have fun then, and we still do. We decided to spend the day stocking up on groceries. When we came home, I baked ocean scallops in a garlic butter sauce and then sautéed a combination of fresh spinach, spring onions and cherry tomatoes as a side. Topping everything with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese made us feel that we were in cozy restaurant by a lagoon. As Dolly Parton once said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we CAN adjust the sails.”
Since then, the clouds lingered but no more rain, and the sun broke through the clouds often enough to enjoy the park. It was actually perfect weather for walking and cycling. We biked to the beach to watch the waves roll onto the empty stretch of sand and then explored the waterways that wound around and through the campground. There were signs warning swimmers that there may be alligators in the lagoons and to be cautious. I can't imagine taking the chance even if there were no gators in sight!
We’ve been on our bikes nearly every day here, since the park roads are perfect for our level of expertise (as in FLAT). But we’ve also gotten accustomed to the complexity of our gears and feel secure enough to increase our speed and enjoy the feel of the wind in our faces like we used to do as children.
Yesterday we biked to the beach again and, because the skies had begun to clear, we carried our books, magazines and folding chairs with us, looking more unwieldy than we really were. It was early in the afternoon, and we were the only people on the beach, while the gulls surrounded us looking for handouts. Only two other couples appeared later, looking for shells. The sand is so white that it looks like snow from a distance and sugar close up. Apparently, the sand is made up of quartz crystals that are washed down from the Appalachian Mountains via rivers,like the Apalachicola River, and then are deposited into the Gulf of Mexco to be churned up again on the beach.
Breathing in the salt air of the gulf and watching the rhythm of the waves brings me a little closer to the state of mind that I’ve never been able to reach during my unsuccessful attempts to meditate over the years.
Alan built a campfire tonight. We sat by it as the sky darkened and it was time for dinner. Saturated with with fresh air, we went to bed at 9:00 pm...a very big mistake on my part because I was up at 3:30 am ready to start the day! It was all I could do to lie still and try to recapture that meditative state I found on the beach. It was useless, and I dozed off and on until the birds began to sing to each other at sunrise. Part of the problem is that we're in a different time zone...and part of it is that I just need to stay up later!!
Tomorrow we head to Alabama, then Mississippi several days later. I heard that DC was near 70 degrees the other day, under sunny skies...where is the snow that we were escaping?