The condo pool was too cold for our liking at eight thirty a.m., so Angelica and I jumped out and walked toward Seagrove Beach. This Florida panhandle beach was sparsely attended and the glorious sunshine and breeze were warm, not hot—Mami and Daddy don’t abide crowds or baking heat on vacation, so we have only ever known this place as peaceful and refreshing. We had walked over this boardwalk and soft white sand every late September while we were in middle school, but had not been here together in at least six years. We skipped to the ocean edge, letting the water wash over our feet.
“We going in?” I asked.
“Not right now. What about a sandcastle?”
“We don’t have a bucket.”
“Damn. Okay then, bury my legs and make a sculpture over them.”
“Like a mermaid tail?”
“Except not so basic.” She made a lewd suggestion.
“You’re wild, there are kids around.”
“Fine. How about a chicken?”
Though I tried, I lack skills in the visual arts, so the chicken legs and feathers I drew in the sand over Angelica’s buried lower half were blurry and unconvincing. “It’s not looking great, sis. Apologies. Why don’t we go for a walk? We can see if the tide pool has any crabs.”
“Ooh, yes!” She pushed out of the sand and stepped into the water to rinse off.
Five minutes down the beach, we arrived at the brackish tidal pool, a body of water that looked like a large, shallow creek had ended high up on the sandy beach, connecting to the ocean only when the ocean tide was high. One of the sandy creek banks was roped off and labeled a turtle nesting area while the other bank was parallel to a boardwalk that seemed to be on the property of a nearby white mansion, and a sandbar rose gently between the two. Although the still water was caramel colored, it was quite shallow, so from where we stood on the bank closest to the mansion, we could see straight to the bottom except where large clumps of algae blocked the view.
“Crab, a big one!” I pointed.
“Wow, wish we had a net. Oh, another one!” she pointed farther into the water. The crabs looked to be around six inches wide and skittered across the sandy bottom with their claws pointed up. Half an hour passed as we walked the bank, observing the crabs. Were two moving through the algae or were there three? Four?
We tiptoed to the sandbar, carefully placing our feet on spots that were algae-free so as not to spook a crab and lose a toe. With only an inch of water covering the sandbar, it was an ideal place to lay out in the sun. Resting on our bellies and elbows, we soaked in the warmth and the shimmering memories of this place: rolling over the ocean waves on boogie boards, searching for sand crabs at night with a flashlight and net, making lattice sand castles.
“I can’t stop thinking about childhood here,” I said quietly. “I want to be able to bring myself back to this beach always. I’m concerned—I’m afraid that the rest of life won’t be as nice as childhood was.”
If we held very still, tiny silver fish flickered around our arms.
“Same. I miss it.”
We turned onto our backs, faces toward the sun, resting our heads in our hands to keep the water out of our ears.
Sadie Burgher (‘17) graduated with degrees in environmental studies and writing and has spent the past year working in libraries. She loves essential oils, books, and the idea of getting fit. She is married to Luke, and they make their nest in Grand Rapids, MI.