Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Sunset Cure

Ever had one of those days when no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn't seem to get anything accomplished? I had one of those days today, so I decided I needed to drive out to the beach to see the sunset. Upham Beach, on St. Pete Beach is the closest beach to my house, so that's where I went.

The Gulf was as calm as a lake. The breeze was strong, but it was from the east, so the beach was mostly sheltered by the island. I headed north, past the big yellow erosion control sandbags, toward Blind Pass. Blind Pass separates the island of St. Pete Beach from Treasure Island. There were two fishermen on the rock jetty on the south side of the pass, and quite a few people on the beach enjoying the shirt-sleeve weather on this warm, breezy mid-March evening. The smell of cigar smoke from a tobacco addict wafted down the beach on the breeze--a minor annoyance.

A heavy bank of grey clouds hung over the Gulf, but left enough clear sky for a nice sunset. A few sunrays were already poking through the clouds and reflecting off the water. I climbed up onto the rocks and found a nice flat granite rock to sit on.
pelican flying over the Gulf of Mexico
The tide was moving the water rapidly out from the bay to the Gulf and the strong current was plainly visible. Fishermen in two small sport-fishing boats were casting for fish just outside the pass. Pelicans circled overhead and dove repeatedly into the pass, and then drifted with the current before taking flight again.

A pair of dolphins were playing in the pass and quite unexpectedly began leaping out of the water over and over, attracting the attention of the sunset-watchers on the beach. I haven't seen dolphins jump in a long time.

sunset at Blind Pass, St. Pete Beach

The wind blew the sounds of the live music from Jimmy B's all the way to my mostly quiet spot on the jetty. But I didn't mind a little music--the sunset was serene and beautiful. As darkness approached I lay back on the flat granite and just let the wind blow over me. A crescent moon illuminated the sky, but was not bright enough to overpower the great hunter Orion, looking down from the starry sky.
St. Pete Beach at night
After a while I took a walk south toward the hotels and restaurants, now full of lights and loud music and vacationers out for a stroll or splashing in the pools. The music from the live band at Jimmy B's seemed really loud as I approach. They belted out a southern rock rendition of Suzy Q. I quickly tired of the noise and the lights and headed back toward the water.

The moon was much brighter now and fewer people were on the beach. I felt really relaxed inhaling the fresh salt air and hearing the water lapping the sand. Mission accomplished.

There are very few things that a good sunset on the Gulf won't cure.

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