I grew up going to Panama City Beach every summer with my parents and sister. There is nothing like the squeak of that sand, the brilliant greens and blues of its sea and sky. Panama City is brightly beautiful. Sun glasses are a requirement at PC. My older eyes cannot exit the room anything but blind apart from them.
My kids are getting old enough for me to let them play in the waves: boogie boarding and body surfing, while I sit on a bluff carved by the morning tide. Usually, I ride every wave as well. But yesterday, I took the opportunity to sit and stare out into the deep greens and blues. The sky was cornflower colored with wisps of white and the water had that sunburned brilliance that is so hard to communicate to those who have never seen our gulf. I tried to drink in those colors, stain my mind with the pigments…afraid that the sea will dim, will be dank the next time I make my way there.
I have stood along the stony shores of Maine, the waves dark and threatening. I have tiptoed the cool waters of Cape Cod’s finger. I have ridden good, strong waves at Myrtle Beach, seen the brown, sandy trails of sea turtles at Hilton Head, come to know the specific briny perfumes of Jekyll, St. Simons, and Cumberland. I have driven down Daytona, searched for shells at St. Pete and found sanctuary from a named storm at Madeira. I have dug my feet deep into gray-brown sand above Santa Rosa and felt the 747 sounds of the Pacific roar through me. I love the beauty of all of these beaches…New England’s steel grays, the South Atlantic’s muted blue greens, the Golden isles sepia tones, but nothing cuts through like the color of our gulf – blinding beauty – stronger than even our sun.
I have also seen the foam and stain that is Mississippi and Texas. Motor oil is my favorite color plastic worm, but my least favorite color ocean.
God, please continue in your mercy.