Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurts Like a Beach!

So, now that I have managed to clear up my leg ailment from before our trip, obviously it is time for a new predicament. So today, while snorkeling in about 3 feet of water, I not only scraped my knee on a barnacle encrusted rock, but I also managed to make contact with a Lion's Mane jellyfish with my opposite ankle. Talented, no?

We are currently out an Vancouver Island, enjoying the run of Island Mike's gorgeous hacienda by the sea while he and his family return from abroad. It is our first proper vacation since 2006, and it has been simply excellent, jellyfish stings notwithstanding.

I will put up some details once I am back home and have easier access to the photos we've taken, but there has been something new to read every Monday since I started this blog, and like the man says in Bull Durham, you have to respect the streak.

An unphotographed (by me at least) highlight of our trip happened yesterday as we were combing the beach for shells and whatnot: a group of girls in their mid teens were playing in the surf, trying to get good footing on a skimboard of some fashion, and not with much success. As we ambled by, Fenya was mimicing their shrieks, not maliciously, but I couldn't chance it.

"Look at those girls, Fenya," I said, "They aren't just working on their tans or fronting to the boys, or watching someone else do something cool; they are out in the waves, trying something new, and they aren't afraid to look foolish doing it. I think they're awesome."

Fenya stopped and looked back to where one of the trio was now being assisted off the sand after a particularly spectacular wipeout. The three of them were laughing as the recently righted one dusted the sand off of her legs and bottom. "You're right," said Fenya, "that is cool."

As we walked further down the beach, I thought more about them, and the more I thought, the more awesomed by them I became. Here were three teenaged girls, and while I wasn't close to see exactly how paranoid their dad's should be, they were all fit, and at least one of them was wearing a two-piece swimsuit, so self-confidence did not appear to be an issue. Most of the girls of that age I had seen on this trip were so intent on presenting an image of poised control that they could not possibly allow themselves to be caught smiling, let along dancing around in the waves like some kind of kid having, like, fun or stuff.

On our way back down the beach, they had abandoned the skimboard and were trying to use their camera's self timer to take their picture as they simultaneously leapt into the air, with even less immediate success than they had with the board. (Although, you could (and I would) argue that the purpose of any beach toy, whether it is a $3 pool noodle or $10K Sea-Doo, is to help you have fun, which they clearly were.)

My first instinct in instances like this is always to offer to take the picture for them, but I caught myself before heading over, and Audrey agreed to go in my stead. A heavyset, middle-aged bloke brings the wrong vibe to that party, and I was damned if I was going to be the one who reminded these young ladies of their age and gender. Better to let them remain what they appeared to be: human offspring at play.

I couldn't disrespect the moment by photographing it, but at least I can write it down and share it. I hope I remember to show it to my daughters in a couple of years.

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