Blustery day by the sea

Living by the sea for a prolonged period one becomes accustomed to fronts; that is, strong winds that sweep across the island, bearing warm or cold air, rain or blue sky. Whatever the nature of the front it always signals a variation of what preceded it. Today’s “wind advisory” for example heralded plummeting temperatures and sunny skies from the Northwest at 37 km/h. It was for me an invitation to the beach where the crashing waves, swirling sand and powerful blasts would be ideal for photography and bicycling in the right direction.

The advancing air mass helped brighten my mind of the early morning’s tears and memories as we adjusted to the sudden loss of an old friend. The wind erased the details for the start of a clear day. Another day.

When we reached the beach along a narrow footpath from N Sea Pines Drive we chose first to ride into the forceful wind. It stimulated me to have to work to pedal against the explosive air, to feel the wind against my face and in my hair, to be muffled from humanity. There were no other cyclists in either direction. The walkers whom I saw were bent against the driving particles of sand. I kept my head up to see what was about me. The sea was raging against the wind, foaming green, white and blue. Surf broke on the seashore and beyond in rolls upon the depths.

The difficult part of the ride however was not directly into the wind on the expansive beach but rather afterwards dealing with its shifting blasts among the trees and ferns along the bike path through the golf course and home. The sometimes winding path and approaching cyclists made precision critical.

I sought the refuge of the yacht basin.  It, like the beach, never fails to enliven me, always recasting its image, forever shelter from a storm.

Afterwards in the apartment as we sat in the drawing room, reading and writing, we noticed across the lane where white folding chairs were set up on the lawn adjacent the golf club house that a gathering of people had begun in earnest.  Evidently there was a wedding.  The brides maids in full-length black dresses lathered in what looked liked white mink stoles to protect them from the cold air formed a curved line at the left front of the spectacle; the ushers in black suits and white shirts were similarly assembled on the other side. Soon the music changed to something popular for the arrival of the bride.  Initially we pretended to peep from behind the curtains to view the crowd.  Our patio balcony on the third floor is directly in line with the centre aisle of the wedding assembly.  Finally I gave up the pretence of prying curiosity and sat on the balcony with my Nikon 7×15 Special Edition binoculars (4.8 oz, 367-foot field of view at 1000 yards) and stared directly at the crowd. For years I have ritually carried these binoculars with me to our various winter retreats.  It is infrequently that I have used them. They are a reproduction of Nikon’s first compact binoculars made in 1917; and, I understand they are no longer available for purchase so my set is antique as well. It required some effort figure out how to get the binoculars to work.  I wasn’t even certain which end to look through, the big or small lenses.

The bride (a big woman) appeared in an enormous glittered and flowing gown with a long train initially managed by a slender woman in plain black who vanished as the bride, escorted presumably by her father, headed down the aisle to the front of the assembly where presumably the groom (also a large stout man) stood waiting. A clergyman dressed in robes stood at the centre. As the ritual unfolded and the bride and groom kissed to seal the commitment, the crowd erupted in hoots and hollers of joy. The remainder of the evening at the club house was marked by repeated ejaculations of mirth and partying.