Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rhode Island thoughts The beaches here are different from anything other beach I’ve ever seen (not that I’m a beach expert or anything). The beaches in Florida – the ones that I’ve seen the most of – are pure sand. Sand for miles – and I’d guess that the entire Florida coastline is nothing but miles and miles of sand. Sandy beaches are a wonderful sight; they all but reach out and beg you to grab a towel and a good book and stretch out in the sun for a few hours. The water begs just as shamelessly for you to jump in and play in the waves. And with the temperatures in Florida, the water usually looks very inviting. I love playing in the ocean– even after my encounter with a Portuguese Man O’ War last year. The ocean in Rhode Island looks just as tempting. Even though the temperature is only in the mid-70’s, it’s humid enough right now to make the water look like a place to cool off and splash around. Even without much sunshine, the water sparkles enough to make people jump in – even if they have to wear a wetsuit to stand the water temperature (and many of them are wearing one). What is dramatically different is the beach. The beaches up here are gorgeous, but in a wild, untamed sort of way. The only places I’ve seen sand are on the strips of coast line designated as public beaches. The rest of the time, it’s a mangle of broken rocks and debris from the ocean – seaweed, plants and the occasional shell. The rocks are dark, black, jagged things that seem like they’ve been tossed down like pebbles to coat the shore. And instead of being able to look up or down the beach at miles of the same landscape (as you can in Florida), you can rarely see more than a mile at a time. The coast weaves and waves in and out of the ocean – and that provides an entirely different sort of temptation. In Florida, I want to be lazy on the beach. There’s no need to explore or go to a new one – they all look the same (except that the color of the condos/hotels/houses vary slightly), so I tend to want to just stay in one area. Walking around pathways along the beaches here (you won’t get far walking on the beach itself), is a constant adventure. You never know what the cove will look like around the next curve, and the next cure always looks much closer than it really is. The lighthouse looks like it’s only a short walk away. I’ve never been a lighthouse fanatic. But seeing them sitting on a piece of land jutting out into the ocean with the waves crashing around them on the rocks and their light shining out over the waters, it’s easy to understand how their practical purpose can so easily be romanticized.

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