by Betty King
When our four children were young, we took our first vacation to Florida and to Daytona Beach.
I remember I was in awe of the scenery when we entered Florida, that beautiful sunshine state. It was much different than we were accustomed to in our homeland state of Illinois.
The palm trees stood tall and regal and the tropical flowers among the lush greenery made me think we had arrived in a location much akin to paradise.
Arriving in Daytona, I savored my first ever glimpse of a beach. I fell in love with the ocean rolling in from somewhere out in the deep.
As our week provided unrelenting pleasures I came to love scanning the sand along the water's edge for sea shells, small sea critters and other possessions brought in and deposited as treasures at my feet.
I waded out into the water up to my shoulders, and scanned the water's floor with my feet, looking for assets transported from other lands by the turning of the tides.
Daily our children sat in the sand, constructing castles and forts, only to watch the waves carry off their fantasies to lands where only visionaries and fairies could interpret and foretell.
Like greased babies bottoms, we stayed covered and protected from the rays. Yet my husband, whose feet had been confinedfor years beneath dark dress coverings, was shocked to be introduced to the sun intensified by the sand, as he walked along the beach. Soon his feet took on the appearance and pain of trapped lobsters.
I had not known the power water possessed beyond what came through copper tubing. I stood mesmerized as waves in their might rolled over themselves, again and again carrying me with them into the future where dreams lay and memories are collected.
Our children stood leery of the imposing authority, fearful of the bashing abuse, petrified of yielding, but determined to step out to conquer the strength of the deep. They soon overcame their fear, triumphant over the insults inflicted upon them. They took their stance and tasted the salty rewards.
At night, we walked the abandoned beaches looking out at the moon, reflecting off the blackness and listening to the tide bringing in more treasures. What would dawn reveal buried beneath a footstep? What creatures would we find trapped behind, gasping, searching for a lost love -- the depths of the sea.
Soon our vacation came to an end, our days swallowed up in seven rolling tides. Seven days of paradise blissfully came to an end, carried away to be stored as future treasures, memories never to be forgotten.
That vacation was many years ago and our children are all grown. Their children are now learning the beauty and might contained within great bodies of water. They are finding pleasures untold and seeking treasures of their own. They are forming their own love affair with beaches and casting upon the waters their own dreams and visions. They are storing away albums of memories, visual pictures never to be forgotten.
My husband and I have gone on to walk other seashores, and form other love affairs with beaches around the world, but like one's first love affair, we have never forgotten our first -- Daytona Beach.
-- Betty King <baking2 @ charter.net>