On pleasant days — any day with blue skies, sunshine, calm winds, and moderate temperatures — the beaches of the upper Texas coast range from crowded to over-crowded.
When the weather turns, as it did this weekend, strong southerlies, roiling water, and cloud-shrouded skies empty the beaches. On Sunday, the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail beachfront was empty, apart from a few pelicans patrolling offshore waves and a flutter of songbirds sheltering behind the dunes.
It was, in short, a perfect time to visit its beach.
The force of waves reaching nearly to the dunes had washed the shore clean of debris. Only the heaviest logs rolled and tumbled at the water’s edge.
Pushed ashore by strong winds, receding waves carved shallow, intricate channels into the sand. Watching the movement of the waves, words from John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats came to mind:
Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks, and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra.