Friday, May 31, 2013

I wanna be a beach bum.

Last week, my family and I went on vacation; the first vacation we've ever taken. Sure, we've been on overnights here and there but for this year, we packed our bags (and then some) and took off on a long drive to Panama City Beach, Florida where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort on Front Beach Road.

Yes, I've seen the ocean before but it was a bad day to see it. We'd gone to Jacksonville, Florida to watch Alabama play the Seminoles. We took some time out to head to the beach. My oldest son was less than 2 years old and I was pregnant with my youngest. When we went into a gas station to ask for directions, the cashier told us where to go but then said there was a "red tide warning". Being as that we were down for the ball game, I thought he was cracking a joke at us obvious Alabama fans (the Crimson Tide, get it? Hardy har.) but as it turned out, there really was a red flag warning. We couldn't get in the water and the air quality on the beach was horrendous. I felt as though my sinuses were on fire. I got to see the ocean for the first time and it was magnificent, but I only got to spend a few minutes staring at it before we had to go.

Until we went to PCB, I really never understood the pull to the beach. I never understood how people could get excited over sitting on or playing in sand. I never understood how wonderful it would be to walk along the beach at sunset or dig for seashells or feel the moist sand between your toes. What was the big deal? But then we got there, went up to our room on the 10th floor and the first thing I did was head over to the balcony.
Right then and there, I fell in love with the beach and the view of the ocean. We swam, we played, we attended events put on by the Resort, we built badly constructed things in the sand... I've never in my life felt so wonderful and at peace. Even reading took on a new meaning. Since I was between semesters, I took several novels and my Kindle with me. I spent a lot of time dozing and reading while stretched out on a lounge chair or on my beach towel. Our last evening there, I felt like a character from one of those novels. I wore a flowing white skirt and I held the bottom of it up as I strolled carelessly in my bare feet down the white beach toward a melting sun. I didn't want to leave. My kids and husband were happy and I was mesmerized.
There aren't many pictures and I typically don't share many family photos anyway. I actually left the camera locked up most of the time in order to drink in the atmosphere without worrying about preserving the moment.
I'm back in reality now and school and work has once again taken over. But that's okay. The memory of that time will be embedded within me for a long time.
And since I can't be there in the flesh, I now seriously want to write a story set on the beach just so I can revisit those moments in my mind. :-)
Peace, love, and the ocean blue,

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