Thursday, September 10, 2009

Buggy, Birdy Beach

Addie spent the afternoon with her dad today, hanging out at church while he worked.

I spent the afternoon at my "other" office:

The above photo is actually a personal "stock" photo - it was a rare occasion that I was without my camera today. While we have two cameras, I left mine, which is a little easier to tote around, in the diaper bag with Sabian and Addie in the event that he needed to capture something while they were together.

If I had taken a picture today, you would have seen sunny skies, calm seas, a few pelicans and a smattering of seagulls. There were quite a few birds milling about today and even though I didn't break out my snacks (I know better when they are near), the seagulls are none too shy. Truth be told, I thought about stashing my camera in my bag but thought twice when I figure I'd just be taking the same old picture of the same old view. But, I realized once I was there, that the view does change. The water might be clear one day and cloudy the next. There might be several birds wandering around, like today, or there may be none. I might see a cloudless sky one week, and an abundance of clouds the next. Not to get all smushy and sentimental, or even too introspective, but I realized that I was doing just what I'd said I didn't want to do by living here - I was taking advantage of the luxury I have of living close to the beach.

I realize that aside from the "normal" getaways moms take for a break - shopping, movies, meals out with friends, etc. - I am blessed to be able to have these couple of hours a week to myself, enjoying the serenity of the sand and water, this particular aspect of God's creation. It's hard to not take it for granted. After all, for those of you from home, do you hit up the Arch on a regular basis? It is a simple thing, choosing to not take my camera with me today, but it brought to light that I was doing what I didn't want to do, and as long as I am here, I want to appreciate being able to take these regular visits to the beach.

I digress. As great as the beach is, today it was more than just birds that were my fellow beachcombers - the bugs were also taking advantage of the beautiful day. For the past few years we would save our trips from Illinois to the beach for the fall season, usually October. The beaches are less crowded and the weather is usually pretty unbelievable. It is also at this time of year that one will often become well acquainted with flies - biting flies. More pesky than your common house fly, these flies peck away at your skin, testing your will to outlast them for a tan. They weren't the worst I've seen (or felt) them today, but they did make their presence known. Different people have different theories and methods for keeping them at bay, but to date, I don't know of a surefire recommendation.

To be fair, this is not an accurate depiction of the flies on the beach, but I couldn't help but post this photo because it looks like this guy is wearing sunglasses.

Right after Sabian and I were engaged, way back in 2005, we took a trip to the Destin area and stayed with some of my relatives. It was Sabian's first time to the area and his first introduction to these biting beach wreckers. One day it got so bad that he took his book and stood in the water to read in an effort to escape them. I opted to lay on my towel covered, head to toe, with another towel. Not good for my hopes of a tan. I tried to find the photo I took of him in the water (one of my best to date) and was unable to find it. I did, however, find this one:

That's me on that trip, shielding my skin from their wrath. On a side note I also found these photos from that trip:

Crazy kids. We buried ourselves just for fun, but thinking back on it, I suppose that would be another method for keeping the biting flies away.

Other friends on the beach today were love bugs. Do you know of these? If you've never had the pleasure of coming in contact with them, count yourself lucky. I first experienced them this time last year and have been annoyed ever since.

I suppose it is that time of year again and I am none too happy about it. These bugs are weird. Just check out what Wikipedia says:

"The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs."

So here you are, minding your own business, and these bugs are drifting around you, in swarms, mating. Not only that, and I'm just learning this part, there may be some females dragging around their deceased partners. I'm not kidding, these things travel in packs and can surround you before you know it. Then, it's just too late.

In spite of the bugs and flies, it was a good afternoon. I am thankful that Addie and Sabian enjoyed their afternoon together. I am also thankful that due to commitments we've had every night this week, I haven't had to make dinner...even once.

Speaking of love bugs, how cute is this little bug?!


Jamie said...

just a few things:

1) to keep flies away on the beach you should get a clear bag (kind they put goldfish in works perfect) and fill it with water and hang it from a pole in front of you...keeps 80% of the flies away from you.

2) love bugs...they were crazy here in hilton head, but just for one day. at first i thought they were lightning bugs but my curiosity was piqued enough to look it up. we saw many of them dragging the dean males around...icky.

3) never take days at the beach for granted!

Nicole Francis Swinson said...

I think I could have done with just seeing that last picture of your little love bug in this blog...
"after mating the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs".
Today I am thankful I am NOT a love bug.