I was at the beach with a dear friend who is one of those modern, connected people who keeps his friends and family in touch with his every hour. As I sat in a tired heap on a beach chair after a dose of sun and deliciously warm gulf water, a pod of dolphins rolled by us, displaying their fins and re-energizing us all. I saw a black skimmer slice the water looking for food.

I am in a writing slump – this is not writer’s block really, more of writer’s ¬†laze. I thought a day at the beach would bring me back to my senses, and it did. There is something about the ocean that is both validating and terrifying at the same time – and maybe they are one and the same thing – the simplicity and smallness of being human. We who live on or near the gulf don’t take it for granted anymore, if we ever did. So there is an added pathos to that beauty. I am constantly aware that it is not so large or robust an environment that an act of human greed could not damage it¬†irreparably. I pay greater attention to every little thing, I treat each beach day as if it might be my last.

I returned home and told a neighbor excitedly that we saw dolphins. “I know”, she says, I read it on such and so’s face book page” (she means the friend who was with me at the beach). I am disappointed. I have no beef with the people who transmit their lives to their friends and family, it is a form of communication for them, and they are welcome to it. But I would like the choice to communicate my life in the way I want. I don’t know the solution to this – I am not disturbed by it enough to designate myself a Facebook Free zone, but I do wonder if it isn’t a kind of invasion of my privacy. I mean, there may be people to whom I want to describe my experience myself, and there may be some I don’t want to know that I was even at the beach instead of home trying to meet my deadline.

For those of you who might wonder what a skimmer is – here is a photo. Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger. The skimmer is one of the oddest birds I have ever seen, and one of the most elegant too.

Black Skimmer