Emerald Waters

It’s funny, because we moved to Florida in 2003, and in all that time, I’ve never gone swimming for real in the gulf. The ocean is literally a five minute drive from my house, and while I’ve gone and sat on the beach, waded in the water, or jumped in the waves (and even then, pretty infrequently), it wasn’t until this morning that I went for an actual swim.

I’ve truly been wasting time. I got up early this morning telling myself to go to the beach (even though I’m by myself) because I’m going back to New Orleans tomorrow. I finally mustered up the will to put on a bathing suit, pack a chair and umbrella, a book, and my goggles and go. It was just so beautiful. At 8:30 in the morning the tourists aren’t there yet, nor the children, nor the women begging for melanoma. The beach was empty and the water was serene and perfectly clear (no floating algae, nothing). It was early enough that it wasn’t too hot (still in the 80s) and that the birds were still flying low over the water.

I sat and read for a bit and then finally got in the water to cool off a bit. For once the water temperature wasn’t bath water, but instead cool and refreshing. I didn’t swim at first, just stepped in and then went back to reading. As more people got to the beach I finally made up my mind to get back in the water, and for once, I had my goggles with me, so no contact lenses were lost!

Swimming in the ocean was the best thing I could’ve done all day–all week really. It was so relaxing and the water, although incredibly salty, was so smooth it was like swimming in silk. I could see all the little marine life mounds (crab holes?) under the water, and swim so freely. It was great to just float and be carried weightlessly by the water and watch the birds fly by.

After finally getting out, I felt disoriented going from being weightless to feeling heavy as I got to the shore. The way walking feels weird after getting off a treadmill—something’s not quite right.

While i was in Brazil, practically everyone I talked to would tell me to go to the beach because the salt water was rejuvenating, great for your skin, and would make you healthy again no matter what problem you were having. I have no idea if there’s any scientific merit behind it, or if all that salt is actually good for your skin or not, but if they sell all those bath salts and tell you to soak in epsom salt it couldn’t be too bad.

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