Sunday Solitude

 

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.

 

Covered by a thin layer of receding water, the coarse-grained sand reflected sun, sky, and clouds with a pearl-like sheen.

 

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.

 

Comments always are welcome.
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Catching a Wave

Velvetweed (Oenothera curtiflora)

When wave after wave of rain causes streets and freeways in Houston to resemble the shallow, near-shore waves of Galveston Island beachfronts, someone inevitably turns to humor to deal with the situation, calling out “Surf’s up!” to anyone within hearing distance.

After last night’s storms, the ‘surf’ certainly is up here today, but a drier sort of wave offers its own delights. Tall and gangly, velvetweed grows across Texas; I’ve found it at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge, in the Rockport City Cemetery, along the banks of the Medina river, and on the shores of Tres Palacios bay. This past weekend, I found some west of Gonzales, on a road that cuts through the historic El Capote ranch.

Often as ‘weedy’ as its name, velvetweed can be easy to overlook, but this lovely wave caught my eye,  and invited my attention to surf along its curves.

 

Comments always are welcome.