Friday, August 18, 2017

Savor the moment

I've always thought of myself as a lake person more than a beach nut. Yet, over the past few years, my fascination and enjoyment of time spent by the ocean has grown immensely.

I look forward to the time Ralph and I spend in New Smyrna Beach with eager anticipation. I love my early morning bike rides, combing the beach for treasures - and I always find something - new birds, crustaceans, plants and animals to discover, learn about and appreciate.  Together, they add up to complete joy and excitement.

This morning, as I try to do whenever we're at the beach (and we're here more and more often each month) I got up early, made myself a to-go mug of hot, buttered coffee, packed my juggling clubs, camera and towel into my improvised bike carryall and pedaled off to the ocean to catch the morning light.

This was my view when I got there

A sight worth getting up early for

The sun was hidden behind a bank of low-lying clouds but rays of light appeared nonetheless. I'm always encouraged by old Sol's ability to penetrate even the darkest sky. Inspiring determination!

It was almost dead low tide, which meant there was a flat, expansive stretch of hard sand - perfect for riding on with my three-wheel recumbent.  Waves were gentle, almost non-existent.  I rode steadily along anticipating a relaxing swim once I'd pedaled a couple miles.

A shadow-selfie of me in my fun cycle

Once I was south of Hiles, I stop biking, sipped some coffee - still hot! - and took out my clubs.  My club juggling has definitely improved thanks to these early morning practice sessions on the beach. There's something about juggling on the beach that I really love. Especially at sunrise when the only ones to see me make mistakes are a few uninterested snowy egrets, pelicans, royal terns and the occasional walker, biker or beachside jogger.

The birds don't seem to mind if I drop clubs while practicing my juggling

After juggling for a bit - got up to 50 throws this morning - I went for a swim.  The water was absolutely perfect!  Warm and gentle and delightfully salty.  I almost hated to get out.  But I did and I'm glad I did because if I hadn't, I might have missed seeing the hermit crab crawling across the sand inside the biggest moonsnail shell I've ever seen!

Below are two short videos of the moonsnail-occupied hermit crab making its way across the sand:

When it comes to shelling, New Smyrna Beach is no Sanibel Island.  Sure (shore?) there are a few shells here and there but usually none of them are anything special. But sometimes - maybe because of the tide or weather - many kinds of pretty shells wash ashore.  That's what happened this morning.

A few of my morning finds

Thanks to all the shells I kept spotting from my low-riding recumbent (a perfect bike for shell-spotting) it took me much longer than usual to make it back home to Ralph. Usually he joins me but this morning he needed a little extra time to rest before starting the day.  But that's okay. We'll have another chance tomorrow and if there's one thing I've learned about being at the beach it's that everyday there's something new to discover at the ocean.  Can't wait to seer what the next day will bring!