Yesterday I drove down to Jekyll Island for business. Today we took a break from the business for “afternoon excursions.” Instead of hooking up with coworkers from other parts of the state for networking, I decided to take a barefoot walk on the beach.
Although the hotel where I’m staying is oceanfront, there’s not a lot of beach. In fact, unless you count the volleyball court, there’s really no beach at all. Walking back and forth on the volleyball court wasn’t exactly the walk on the beach I’d envisioned.
I shared my disappointment with a coworker who’s familiar with the area. She told me I’d find a walkable beach about three miles down the road. I changed into swim trunks and a t-shirt; grabbed my Apple Nano, a towel, and flip flops; and hopped into my car.
I took a deep breath, enjoying the salty air beneath the blazing sun, high above a few fluffy clouds. Wearing just my swim trunks, Nano earbuds, and flip flops, I locked the car, stuck the keys in my pocket and walked across the parking lot to the wooden walkway that provides access to the beach. Once I made it through the scorching hot billowy sand to the wet, cement-like stuff along the water’s edge, I decided to carry my flip flops.
The beach was practically deserted. As Donna Summer sang in my ears about her cake being left out in the rain, a large group of sandpipers walked frantically up the beach in front of me, like they were late for a very important meeting. A stone’s throw away, pelicans dived for fish.
I kept walking. A fisherman reeled in a decent-sized flounder and held it up so his girlfriend could take a picture. In the foam at the edge of the sea, little spouts gave away the hiding places of small crustaceans. A mother and her preschool-aged son added yet another specimen to a plastic pale full of sand dollars.
The sea breeze felt great, but eventually I got hot. I set my flip flops on the beach with my keys and Nano then walked into the warm surf far enough to hit cooler water before flipping onto my back and floating. The sting of the salt in my eyes didn’t diminish the pleasure one bit.
I retrieved my things from the beach and turned around. The friction of the sand against the bottoms of my feet seemed like a natural pedicure. About halfway back, the pleasant sensation had turned slightly painful. I put on my flip flops and moved away from the water’s edge.
By the time I got back to the car, my feet felt blistered from the friction of the sand. I started up the car and headed back to the hotel. As the air conditioning struggled to cool the overheated interior, I decided to stop by the hotel pool for a quick swim to cool off.
I left my sandy flip flops in the car and headed barefoot across the black-tarred parking lot. By the time I realized my mistake, the pool was closer than my car so I made a run for it, dancing across the parking lot like water drops on a hot griddle. I didn’t scream one time.
After my swim, I stood at the edge of the parking lot to plot my course back to the car. Big trees provided some shade, but the middle of the lot rippled with heat from the blazing sun. I planned a course to maximize my time in the shade then ran like hell to get to the shade on the other side.
I’m glad I managed to squeeze in my barefoot walk on the beach. I’m equally glad to be returning to Athens tomorrow, so the blisters on the balls and heels of both feet will have time to heal. Until then, I’ll be tiptoeing around in…
My Glass House