Monday, August 30, 2010

Ocean Idyll

After nine hours in the car I arrived in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Each moment of the drive was a celebration, crystalline memory material. Overcast skies meant blessed coolness rather than blistering heat.

I had a choice of three routes and decided on the one less travelled. To my delight, what followed were 478 miles of deserted roads mostly lined by forest. I kept the top up against the threatening sky. Only once did it rain.

The column of water was visible a half mile ahead, perfectly framing Hwy 19. I slowed, trepidatious, before passing through the visible wall. For five minutes the wind and rain rocked my Cabrio, then just as abruptly, were gone.

Danielle is out there, churning the waters. The first picture is the surf around 7:00 p.m. Sunday. Courtesy of Hurricane Danielle.

Sets of waves roll in, eager to break then race to catch the one before it. Yesterday I stood in the surf and watched, mesmerized by the constant churning of as many as ten curls in a line, breaking a hundred and more yards out. I hear the riptide is gnarly.

Saturday was the fifth anniversary of Katrina. No hurricanes on my forecast.

When I finally stepped on the beach my feet ahhhh'd. The white powder caressed my soles, fine as ash and as soft. Memories of years gone by raced through my body and gathered, solidified in the present moment.

Ahora. Now.

Then comes the hardpack: cool, damp, loose. Cars are allowed to drive here. I don't like this.

Past that and before the surf is a 20 - 30 foot green zone. Why is it green? Does anybody know?

I watched the clouds bunch and gather in groups, each hanging out with its own kind, forming layers that ripped in places. Patches of blue smiled behind billowing clouds that were backlit by a sun I couldn't see.

A boy, left alone by a father drinking at the Tiki Bar, played in the surf.

I kept an eye on him, unable not to.

A run to the produce market and Publix yielded fruit and a big block of Parmigiano Reggiano, Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, a head of garlic, olive oil and aged balsamic from Italy. And a sour dough baguette. I haven't had sour dough since California.

When at the beach eat fish. And Mediterranean.
Including canoli.

My Bugsy had to stay home. But this is my new buddy, Mage. He lives here at the resort, fed by residents and guests.

Quite striking, isn't he? All kinds of mysteries could be woven around that face and those markings.

Our Wifi extends to the pool. I sat out there last night until it was completely dark except for the pool and deck lights.

Mage patrols. But no one touches the Mage Man.

A light rain falls.

Time to take the laptop in.

Till another day, Olivia

Pictures from top: Atlantic waves courtesy of Danielle; green hardpack; clouds sillouette the lone boy with boogie board; off kilter clouds and resorts to the south; view from my table on the upper deck above the pool, looking out over the beach, night has fallen.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Say Hello to the Mage Man for me. His coloration is somewhat like Gypsy's but hers is gray instead of black.

Isn't it always the way? You could have totally relaxed except for the drinking father ignoring his at-risk son.

Your sojourn sounds so relaxing and healing. The photos are quite beautiful. They put me there right with you.

Enjoy the moments. Roland

Summer Ross said...

great pictures. my favorites are "mage" and the last one with the blue in it, well because I like blue :)

Jules said...

Oh, I hung on every word. I'M SO JEALOUS and yet happy for you. I spent a good deal of time yesterday watching beach cams. I need a beach :(

Loved your photos. The 2nd one looks windy. Throw the cat a sardine for me.

Rest, relax, enjoy :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Jemi Fraser said...

Glorious pics! Enjoy :)

Walter Knight said...

When I went on vacation I thought I would suffer from computer withdrawal. Then i discovered a computer downstairs in the hotel lobby! Yes!

Why risk being swept away by storms or eaten by sharks when I can sneak out of my room and go online.

Then a bus load of kids arrived and hogged the computer. I got the shakes. I was forced into the pool. Got sun burned. Given history lessons about Gettysburg. Bla bla bla.

I even had to talk to my wife OMG. But, it was a good vacation. I hope yours goes well, too. Florida is beautiful.


Raquel Byrnes said...

Sooo jealous! Its still baking out where I live. Hope you have a wonderful time. Love the pictures. =)

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Terry Stonecrop said...

What a poetic travelogue. Lovely! And great pix!

Glad you enjoyed Florida. Down my way we got some weather out of Danielle. We may get a little out of Earl. I'm watching the next one coming off the coast of Africa...
Me no like hurricanes.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

All the pictures are great. The skyline and view from the terrace are my favorites.

Anonymous said...

It's been a little over a year since I've been to the beach and I miss it... But that cat is adorable! I just love fat cats. ;]

Elliot Grace said...

...that may very well be the smartest cat on the globe. A rogue, beach-dwelling tom, burning his nine lives in the sand.

love the pics. I'm originally from Florida...missing it dearly:)

Belle Wong said...

Beautiful post, and the pictures are the perfect accompaniment to your prose.

The Words Crafter said...

Mmmmmmm, sounds so wonderful! Love the kitty, he IS dramatic. I'd have him curled up in my lap in less than 30 minutes, guaranteed. Those are some great pics, love the colors....relax and enjoy! And call someone if that guy leaves his son again!

Terry Stonecrop said...

Hi Olivia, I have something for you at my blog so stop by when you get a chance:)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Roland, healing and relaxing. Yes. We've slept till 9 for two days running. Ahhh. Mage says HI.

Summer, the blue shot is a night picture without flash. I like that one, too. :)

Jules, I sat at home and watched beach cams, too, about a month ago. I feel ya. Mage said thanks for the sardine. :)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Jemi, thank you! :)

Walter, you made both me AND my sister laugh out loud. I had wondered where you were off to, hadn't seen you around in a while. I discovered yesterday that when I picked up the right signal I can get wifi in my room, yeeehaaa!

Raquel, thank you, wish you were here. :)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Terry, both Danielle and Earl swept North. The crawl says NC outer banks is evacuating for Earl, did he miss you I hope?

Mary, thank you!

Amanda, I suspect most of Mage's fat is that incredibly long hair of his. Glad you enjoyed.

Elliot, no kidding. Mage has the right idea. :) I'll post some more pics soon, anything in particular you'd like to see??

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Belle, thank you so much for stopping by and your lovely comment!

Words Crafter, hi there, you sound like you're doing lots better, yay! I wish you were here to love Mage up, I'm thinking he could use some cuddling. Most wary souls are love sponges just waiting for the right person to come along and coax them out.

Miss you all, but I'm loving my sojourn. Back soon with another Florida post, Olivia

Eric W. Trant said...


You hear that voice in your head who's writing these blogs on your travels here there and yonder?

You hear her/it/him/them?

Tell em they have a wonderful voice, easy-to-read, just enough detail to provoke without suffocating, and ask them, nicely, from Eric, if they'll write some fictions for you.

- Eric

Terry Stonecrop said...

Hi Olivia, Yes Earl is forecast to miss us. Still watching the other tropical waves marching off the coast of Africa. Not my fave time of year.

I thought you had left. I hope your weather holds:)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Eric, I talked to the voices and they said, yes. Since you asked so Texas sweet and all, they couldn't resist.

They've been chattering for days, weaving my now in to story. Happy. Ecstatic, to be heard. Sides are forming for novel two. Novel one has new, action-packed twists. Novel three danced across my nose the first or second night.

I'm taking copious notes. And spending precious time with empty hands to savor the experience of my now. Every last moment.

Thank you, my friend. For talking to them on my behalf. They respect you. And acquiesce.


Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Terry, no, I'm here until Saturday. I am enjoying every blessed minute of it, too. We're having wonderful weather.

Be safe, Olivia

angelarene said...

So sweet of you to have kept an eye on that boy! Hope you continue having a great time and ship that sweet resort kitty to me...He/She's adorable :)

Unknown said...

I'm trying not to be online as much, which means I have ten times the reading to do when I am online ... just trying to catch up! Congratulations on your award, Jules does always have something interesting. And have fun in Florida!

Walter Knight said...

Olivia and sis:

I thought there was a federal law about transporting Georgia peaches across state lines with the intent to run amuck on Florida beaches. Were you two inspected at the border? Did they issue you a sticker?

Also, did you know Florida is a hotbed for UFO sightings? I think it's a Bermuda Triangle thang. So, if you are laying there on the beach and see an unidentified flying object pass overhead, please do not assume you are merely seeing the space shuttle, or Delta Airlines, or even a wayward flying olive pit from your sister's drink. It could be spaced aliens, so report all sightings to the UFO hotline at 1-206-722-3000.

Olivia, could you do me a small task, por favor? If you get to the Florida Keys, like to the very tip of the last island, could you look out across the ocean and give Castro and his bro the one fingered salute? And yell, "This one's for freedom!"

OK, that's my political rant for the year. I'm chillin. Free Tibet, too.


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