Monday, May 21, 2012

Wind and Sand

On the beach... 
Separately, they can be conquered. Together, they fill every crevice with grit. They turn the surf into busy brown froth. They renovate an otherwise bright blue sky into a menacing, hateful pulverizer intent on roughly smoothing a man's sharp edges.

And as welcoming as one feels on bare feet, wet and soft under the toes, and as softly as the other can massage and coax, together, they combine to whittle away at a fly fisherman's determination.

And so it was, after a day spent walking atop damp sand while spitting the salty grit pushed violently into our mouths back out into the surf, that we relented. We were defeated.

The sea is a finicky creature, revealing its treasures one day and hiding its secrets the next. Pushed by wind armed with sand, it can meet any angler's challenge with stubborn resistance. As we climbed a the dunes in the dry, sunny gale and opted for patience, the sea only stirred itself further into a morasse of impenetrable lather.

We rested, pressed against the dunes to wait out the wind and hope against hope that the Gulf's birds would brave the breeze and start combing the near-shore breakers for today's fishy meal. Find the birds, we knew, and we'd find the fish.

But on this day, the birds were infrequent and moving, thanks to the constant blow, in a very great hurry. They never slowed to gaze into the surf. They never dove. They went hungry.

As I said, we were defeated. And admitting that defeat, oddly, gave us a bit of peace. A bit of ... serenity.

The wind and the sand...
There, upon the gusty dunes, gazing out over the green Gulf, we knew this day would be fishless. But we also knew, as the sun moved behind us and the waves broke before us, that we would glean something from this otherwise barren day.

I spent a good hour gazing through polarized lenses at the sea, watching waves in an awful rush to break, one over the other until they crashed into beach. There, those waves delivered bales of sargassum and rolled smooth, tiny shells up onto the sand. From the dunes, well above the beach, I watched intently as the ocean belched itself onto the spit of land that separates it from Texas until I closed my eyes.

When I woke up some time later, the wind still whipped the sand into devilish swirls among the dunes. The Gulf was still a foamy mess. The birds were absent. The fish were nowhere to be seen.

But I was still on the beach. I'll take the beach. Any day.


  1. A little sand between the toes on a fruitless day of fishing...I'm with ya. I'd take that any day.

  2. If you can't have fish, might as well have that...