I was lucky enough to spend my birthday weekend this year at (on? in?) Sanibel, in a nearly-oceanside nearly-cottage that was nearly ridiculous.
I mean, the cottage smelled like old people when we arrived. The bed had a mattress in the same way that bile has color. Come to think of it, the cottage was the color of bile. The bookshelf had, in toto, a Bible and a selection of tawdry volumes.
Oh it was wonderful. I have, for most of my life, described myself as a mountains person. Many, many people interpret that as “to the exclusion of all others, until death do us part.” I would describe my relationship with the mountains as a healthy, ongoing childhood friendship. Were I to have the choice of anywhere at all to spend half an hour, it would be a cool, damp, hilly place, overrun with mountain laurels and the smell of moss.
Which is not to say that I don’t love the beach. There’s something about the place where the land becomes the water. Rivers and lakes have it too, but the immensity of the sea is a completely different thing. “Here, mammal, is the remaining 70% of the surface area – and something closer to 95% of the habitable volume of this planet, almost totally inaccessible to you. Enjoy the view!”
The flatness is disconcerting to a guy who is used to landmarks on the horizon.
Sandpipers are never not entertaining.
Sand spurs are a menace.
Pelicans have unexpected majesty.
An, of course, a few quiet days at one of the prettiest places on the Gulf of Mexico with my wife? Irreplaceable.