Sunday, July 02, 2006

After the Sunset

We live within walking distance of the beach (don't worry, I can already hear you groan!). I took this picture two days ago on Redington Beach here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. This is the only time of day I will go to the beach. Very few people wander into the warm waters at this time of day, and since there was a sting ray warning posted, we were limited to just the shuffling of our feet as we went in only ankle deep.

Our beaches have been ravaged by the hurricances of previous seasons, and the coastline has changed dramatically. Sand is shipped in and dumped to replace what the high tides took back out with them, and little bitty beach bungalows have been replaced with high rise condominiums on stilts.

Shelling is pitiful. All I can help my nieces find are the jagged remnants of mighty conch shells and miniscule coquinas. They're excited, but I'm always disappointed.

We're covered with powdery sand that gets into everything. The makeshift showers at the edge of the parking lots only make it stick to our skin all the more. There will be days ahead of sand in my car, sand in my bed, and sand in my teeth.

The newspaper predicted that we'll be hit with red tide (an annual beach going interruption and health hazard) in the next couple of weeks. Soon the white sands will be littered with dead starfish, blue crabs, eels, brain coral, and fish I don't even know the names of.

Makes you kind of wonder why we even bother.

To me it's all about the sunset.

If you stay until sunset, the breeze picks up, the humidity drops, and the temperature begins to fall ever so slightly - just enough to remind you what a perfect day is like. We watch as the sun dips little by little into the waiting ocean, and then suddenly at the very end it picks up speed and dives right in!

So what happens after the sunset? It gets dark pretty quickly at that point. I advise that you head back to your car before the sun is completely submerged so that you have a little light to find your way back.

Yes, I know that the sun doesn't really "set." But it is a part of God's creation, and He creates this illusion to help me see what I need to see sometimes.

So I see a miracle! A great ball of fire sinks into the sea, only to rise out of its depths the following morning at daybreak!

This daily miracle sustains life on this planet and gives me another day to play in the water with the ones I love.

But what if you live on the eastern seaboard? You get to see the miracle of the sunrise over the ocean! Wherever you live, I encourage you to come play with us! Feel the spray on your face and the sand between your toes, and know, without a doubt, that after the sun sets it will rise again tomorrow - and so will you.

Come Play at the Water's Edge!