Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Beach Birds

So, Sunday I went home to St. Augustine with a big pot full of white bean chicken chili in the JEEP. Both of my parents were sick with persistent colds and I thought a dose of spicy soup would get their sinuses clear.

Before landing at Mom's, I ducked into Publix for a couple of baguettes.

Now ... I never, ever see anyone I know when I go back to my hometown, unless it is planned in advance. That always bugs me, because in my mind, I expect to do so. When I left home, my brain took a snapshot of life the way it was and so when I return, there is a piece of my brain that expects to bump into friends here and there.

That is completely ridiculous (or almost so) because St. Augustine has changed alot since 1978 and my friend have all gotten really old with busy lives.

I did have great luck this time in the produce section of Publix, because as I turned a corner, there was Miss Elaine, the mother of one of my best girl buddies from high school. She was one of those Mom's who always fed ya if you were at the house and was always interested in what you were doing.

Anyway, we had a great little reunion there between the bakery and the produce.

None of that has anything to do with the beach below, except maybe triggering some nostalgia for all the fun we teenagers had surfing, fishing, and hanging out at the beach back then.

So, post chili consumption, when it was time to drive back to PFHQ, I headed east not west.
When I got to the beach, I turned on the first access ramp I found and cruised slowly down a mostly deserted winter beach, enjoying roaring surf, huddled birds, and a beach empty of summertime hordes.

Here we go.

As I said above, the beach was wonderfully empty. Only a few dedicated surfers and bundled beachcombers braved the bracing wind.

A grey mist was flowing in off the ocean and the beach ahead alternately appeared and disappeared in the distance.
The gulls were tucked into large lazy flocks that were conserving all the energy they could by avoiding flight.
This allowed me to walk up pretty close to them and visit awhile. We talked about fish mostly.

Nice wave dudes.

Everybody had something to do in the gull flocks, but nobody was doing anything that required great effort.

I drove for miles on a deserted beach, stopping here and there to hang with the different gull flocks or do a bit of beachcombing.
Every so often the sea and the land seemed to merge in the late day light and the misty sky.
I wasn't ready to go when the last exit ramp at Fort Matanzas came up, but I had miles to go and so I left the beach to the gulls.
NOTE: Tomorrow may be slow to load, I have a few videos of the gulls and the waves I'd like to toss up here.


Jenny said...

Love the deserted beach pics. I didn't realize you could drive on the beach up there (I'm from Daytona). I've got that sinus thing going around too, maybe I'll check out a recipe for white bean chicken chili. What a great son to bring a care package for your parents!

pablo said...

I'm twenty years out of St. Louis, but every time I go back there I expect to see familiar faces. I never do.

threecollie said...

What a joy those beach scenes are! Thanks!

Deb said...

Nice beach. I love beaches best when they're deserted (or nearly so).

Cathy S. said...

Hope the soup did the trick and your parents are feeling better.

robin andrea said...

It's nice to see a different view of Florida beaches, not so sunny and blue-skied. It must be interesting to drive along deserted beaches.

I've lived in so many places that when I do run into a familiar face, I have no idea from what era or place it could be from. I left my high school town in 1970 and have never gone back.

Ericka said...

ooh. hope the 'rents are doing better, and that you didn't pick up germs when doing your good deed.

ooh, deserted beaches - very cool. i tried to escape work today to go play hooky, but didn't actually make it off work property. *sigh* now i'm PLANNING my hooky, which isn't nearly as much fun.

*snort* my word verification is 'diesicat,' which sounds like a creature you might encounter during one of your swamp rambles.

Bill said...

Hey FC,
Glad to see you enjoy our beach. I live about a mile away and always wish for more time to enjoy it. I love walking on the beach with just the birds and no touristas. We did go see the last night shuttle launch from the beach and that was really great. Of course my 13 year old daughter said, "Now that was boring". Her name is Katie and her birthday is the same as your daughter Katie's, only 8 years different. I seem to be rambling so I will go back to work now. Must be the distant sound of the waves that has me distracted...

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

As usual those are great pictues. I was over there a week ago. Windy and chilly but oh so beautiful!

I made the chicken chili at Thanksgiving and it was a hit. Thanks for telling us about it!

If I send you a picture of a sunset at Summer Haven will you post it?


Floridacracker said...

Home is one of the last holdouts for driving on the beach. Very controlled, but still able to do it for now.
It's where I learned to drive.

Maybe they are hiding from you.

3C, Pretty different huh?

Ditto on that. I skip them when they are wall to wall bodies.

Cathy S,
According to last night's phone call it worked!!

And after so long, would we recognize our friends and vis versa?
Glad you enjoyed my beach pics, I always enjoy yours.

Those word verification creations just keep getting better and better.
Hope you hooky soon!

Billy, I didn't know that about our daughters! Neat.
You and Kevin are the two friends I stand the best chance of rendevousin with .

Great minds think alike ... chili, deserted beaches.
Sure, send me your photo and I'll have a guest post day.

cinbad122 said...

I wish I was on the beach...even with the mist it is better than where I am now! I am finally commenting on your banner photo...it is a Bare Butt!!! HAHAHA

Floridacracker said...

You are too CLEVER!

Rurality said...

Hmm I think that second photo was right about where I got my car stuck in the sand the last time I was in that area... A nice man from GA pulled me out.

Floridacracker said...

I used to make gas money as a kid pulling out stuck tourists.
... only if they insisted on paying of course.

Sharon said...

LOVE the beach in winter. You got some amazing shots :) Hope your folks get to feeling better.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Sharon! They are actually on the mend now!

Alan said...

That is a great stretch of beach down there, and Washington Oaks across the inlet. Was just down there a few weeks ago. Even just driving along A1A through there is a treat between the ocean and marsh/river on either side. Not being a bird whisperer, however, there was no conversing with gulls. Sorry.

Aparna said...

lots of birds, thanks for this nice post.