From my protected window three stories above the beach I am looking at a raging sea. The wind has blown in and violently churned the waves into frenzy. The water is no longer clear but whipped green and frothy. The seagulls that normally float effortlessly on the rising wind currents are hunkered down on the beach in the lowest dip they can find. The beach chairs have blown around and the umbrellas that shade them are shuttered down to prevent them from snapping like dry twigs in the forest. The people who normally populate the beach have scattered into their dry and safe condos all along the beach. We are in a storm.
Yesterday my family frolicked on this beach. My granddaughter covered her other grandfather with sand as he lay still fulfilling a promise made days ago. My wife basked in the sun; something she anticipates with great excitement, and my daughters and daughter-in-law laughed with one another, slathered in sun protection, baking in the hot Florida sun. My son-in-law snorkeled, looking for fish, and my son read his book. My nephew had fashioned a homemade spear and was certain to gaff a fish for our supper. I am reading a book with 800 pages. Life was calm.
Then a storm blew in.
Storms do that—they just blow in. The place where we formerly relaxed did not invite us out for a calm afternoon. The plans of extending our time in family fun were hijacked by the tempestuous waters and howling winds. The clarity of the water was compromised and now the beautiful, inviting surf spits up algae and seaweed harvested from a distant vale far beneath the ocean surface. Plans have to be changed, appointments must be moved, and cancellations are in order. Personal watercraft rentals are voided, parasailing appointments are moot, and the order of the vacation day has been upended by a Gulf Coast summer storm.
Should we stay? We had great plans and now they are gone. Maybe we should just leave now. But here is a truth I know – storms don’t last forever. The wind will subside, the waves will lie down, and the sea will calm.