The Desert Sea

The most unfortunate thing is that I, a lover of words, fail to find an expression that bears even the most haphazard comparison to the heat experienced this weekend. To describe the heat on the Desert Sea of St. Joe Bay is to describe the smile of God, or the thoughts of a fly. Words are simply the wrong tool for the job.

A punch in the face is the closest I can imagine, and then being forced to lick sand, but even that sounds like a frolic around the maypole in comparison.

All other events, and there are many angles and lenses with which to examine the events of the past three days, but they all shine through the same prism of suffering. They all cast their view in the same sand and salt-encrusted time.

However, all of those other views are wrong.

“We will be camping on the point!” they said, yet somehow Mystery the Untameable Stallion my permanent companion in misery and I find ourselves at this point, alone and without refreshment. Forced to struggle back across the deep water of the bay in a Mad River canoe, towing a useless kayak in search of fresh water, we encounter the flotilla and are promptly chastised for wandering off. We begin to forage for saw palmetto and hearts of palm with hope of wringing some small droplets of moisture from their flesh. It would be hours before our motor boat, hobie cat, canoes, and kayaks all convened on the same cursed and unshaded beach for the night.

The rest of the weekend, for myself, was spent rotating slowly around our single palm tree, my chair nestled tight to its base as I moved with the shade. I had no interest in “scalloping” which is an old Calusa expression for getting drunk in 87 degree water while your face burns off. I no speak Calusa.

As the sun went down and the colors unfurled across the sky I could almost forget the suffering, the pirates with knives in their teeth, and the promise of one more forced march across the bay to salvation. When the wind shifted and drowned out the generator that powered the floodlights of the FDLE Cutter anchored a few hundred yards offshore of our camp, it was pleasant, a regular day at the beach.

It is important to remember: the sea does not love you, the sea does not care.


4 Responses to The Desert Sea

  1. Heat? that’s it? and cops watched you the entire time with thermal imaging?

    Sounds like the beach was kind to you by the standard of a group camping trip-let’s review:
    no broken bones;
    no broken equipment (that hobie don’t count, so don’t bring that into this);
    no marital or girlfriend fights over lack of, well, whatever;
    no womenfolk (that outfit the little guy wears doesn’t count as womenfolk);
    no invading wildlife or party buffoons (invited company excluded);
    no gruel;
    no tecates (in fact beer was brought home if my sources are correct?)

    It was just hot…and boring according to the above list.