The day was spent on the coast, near a place called Christmas Bay, spent by the ocean, under a tarp we set up. The coast is brown, acorn and ivory, with seaweed the color of coffee grounds. The sea is fawn-colored, sand and silt mixed in, so you can’t see the bottom; sometimes there’s an olive tint to the water. On the horizon one can see a turquoise hue, but that seldom comes near shore. The sky is a blue white, pale with heat. The wetlands and salt grass, always a vibrant emerald, are showing the fatigue of our weather around the edges. But the water is tepid, pleasant; sometimes an oddly cool current touches the legs for an instant. Gulls and sandpipers and pelicans hunt the waves or scamper decisively up and down the sand. There’s nothing stunningly beautiful about this part of the Texas coast. No one grows magenta surprises of bougainvillea or the canary yellows and blues of coastal vines. Charm isn’t a attribute bait shops or hamburger stands cultivate around here.
We were bohemians today, taking our cooler, our chairs, our tarp, finding an empty space on the beach, enjoying the breeze because Houston is baking. Its lush green is browning. My memories of this drab shore stretch back decades. We never went to the beach in an elegant way. There were always tuna sandwiches with a touch of sand, too much sun, blistering and peeling skin for days afterwards, the itch of a wet bathing suit on the long ride back into town. But today was good. It was good to get out of town. It was good to hear the ocean, to watch the birds. Brown and fawn and ivory and olive and blue and the emerald of the wetlands are the colors of my beach palette. I wore sun block and a big hat. I was happy.