By Kathryn B. Creedy
A soft pink hibiscus flower lay in sharp contrast to the off-white sand as we walked toward the sparkling water early on Easter morning. It was, I thought, Florida’s answer to the Easter Lilies blooming in markets in the last few weeks.
As I passed, flecks of sand sparkled off its trumpet-like petals, reflecting the bright, rising sun and twinkling like a diamond. The temperature was in the 70s with no humidity. A soft breeze came from the north.
“Another day in paradise,” I thought as we settled into our beach chairs that morning. Once again, I was amazed at our good fortune at living on this barrier island at the beach.
We began the day at our favorite restaurant – Sand on the Beach – where we celebrated Easter with breakfast. It had become tradition to bask on the soft warm sands of Melbourne Beach, Florida, next door and this time was no different.
It had been a busy morning at the restaurant and, waiting for a table, we sat beachside and watched a crab, its hard shell glinting in the sun as it scuttled along. Above us a huge flock of pelicans formed a broad V as they flew north. A few minutes later, five more passed overhead and my sister in law said what I had been thinking. They are teenagers intent on doing their own thing. We laughed.
A family appeared at the top of the boardwalk between restaurant and beach. The two little girls in their pastel finery began to descend, their silver shoes flashing reflected sunlight with each step. They carried Easter baskets and I suddenly noticed metallic Easter eggs peppering the sand in and around the nearby sand volleyball court.
“That brings a whole new meaning to the term Beach Bunny,” I said. The littlest girl, her blond hair bouncing in French braids down her back, spotted a shiny golden egg and did an ungainly run in the soft sand before her sister could snatch it. She turned, beaming like the sunlight surrounding her and held it in the air triumphantly.
After breakfast, as we settled into our beach chairs, I surveyed the beachgoers, noting empty groups of towels laid out creating colorful patterns on the light sand. Their owners were in the surf, skim boarding into the waves, or just walking in the gentle water. Umbrellas punctuated the beach with reds and blues and yellows, mirroring what I remembered of the colors on the inside of my children’s Easter baskets years ago. In the far distance, the surf rolled in, delivering a haze and obscuring a remote beach. At the same moment I felt a refreshing sprinkle cover me.
A tall, adolescent girl in a bright pink bikini practiced back flips with her mother. The girl was a younger version of her mother whose blond hair was tied in a ponytail and shimmered as it bounced as she spotted for each new flip. At first I thought the girl a gymnast but her long thin legs suggested more cheerleader than tiny gymnast.
Near the water, small children played tag with the surf before wading in to play. Nearby, their mother sat in a beach chair watching while helping her youngest who was beside her. The little girl’s peach bathing suit had a feathery bottom and, on the back were tiny wings. In her excited play, she fluttered like a fairy in the breeze.
I am always in the moment at the beach, acutely aware of my surroundings. Distractions find it hard to intrude. Pelicans, a crab, bright, sparkly water, warm sand, little children at play and a soft pink flower in the sand were the charm cast by the beach that morning. It was more than enough especially since my youngest texted me this morning to say that fresh snow had covered the trees at Ithaca College. She can’t wait until she graduates in May.