Saturday, September 2, 2017

Another early morning at the beach

Ralph and I arrived at New Smyrna Beach yesterday afternoon and I couldn't wait for morning to get back on my bike, ride down to the ocean and watch the sunrise.

This is the view that greeted me as I biked onto the hard-packed, rain-soaked sand this morning shortly before sunrise, just after high tide. Dark, heavy clouds hung low over the water but in the distance, a strip of brightness lit up the horizon like a brazen flare.

Heavy, dark clouds, and yet there was light...

As I biked south, streaks of pink light streamed across the still-dark sky.

Looking southward instead of east, I inhaled morning calmness along with the view.  Few people were out and a slight breeze kept the sand fleas away as long as I kept moving.

More pink light filtering through the cloud cover hinting of illumination soon to come. While I usually focus on the ocean view or north-south vistas as I bike along, this morning I paid attention to the westerly sky where random clouds received a dash of color.

A spot of light in the western sky

When I reached the stairway at Watts, I stopped to juggle but once I stopped moving, the sand fleas or no-see-ums zeroed in on my body, forcing me to cut short my morning stretches and juggling practice and run down into the ocean to take a quick dip in the warm and soothing brine.

Before heading back to my sleepy husband, I paused to write a few messages in the sand.

We all have a choice...

My sunrise beachside bike ride always gives me hope...

Before arriving back at 27th Avenue, I stopped to take a video of two cormorants in the shallow water.  Cormorants are not birds I normally associate with the beach. I see snowy egrets (like the one in the video) all the time as well as willets, pelicans, plovers, gulls, terns and great blue herons.  But this morning was the first time I noticed a pair of cormorants - birds I normally see at our Groveland lake - in the ocean.  As I watched them in the water, I couldn't help but wonder if they were frolicking or feeding. Most likely, the latter, but maybe (I like to think maybe) just a bit of both?

By the time I left the cormorants, the sky was much brighter than it had been when I started out. I was now almost back to where I began with just a couple more images to capture before leaving.

Looking north toward 27th Ave Beach

Despite it being a Saturday morning on Labor Day weekend with dense cloud cover starting to give way to speckled light, few people were out on the sand. That won't be the case in a couple hours when this same stretch of beach will be blanketed with beach-goers on holiday.

A lone seagull perched upon a pier

Gulls may be noisy, greedy, unpopular birds but I never tire of seeing them, especially when they stand on a pier surveying a domain that's as much (maybe more...) theirs than ours.

Watching that gull on a still-quiet morning on what soon will be an extremely busy beach day, reminded me that the world belongs to us all - the large and the small, the winged, wingless, clawed, scaled, finned, furred and feathered.

It's ours to protect, not to neglect.  It's ours to preserve, not to destroy. It's ours and, hopefully, it's their world too, for as long as we share and take care for its many wonders.

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