Summer's the season for Siesta
Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
So, according to Dr. Beach, Siesta Beach is now the No. 1 beach in the country? Um, tell us something we don't already know!
Look, I'm not a sun worshiper by any stretch of the imagination. I slather on a 45 SPF just for a walk from my front door to the mailbox. But even for someone like me, Siesta Beach is nearly irresistible.
From the moment you slip off your sandals and sink your tootsies into the warm, white sand, Siesta is sublime. You can almost feel the emotional imprint of the millions of people who've come to the beach for fun, sun, romance, solitude, weddings, break-ups and make-ups, remembering, forgetting, praying, and celebrating.
Yes, Siesta's seen it all ... and soothed it all. Somewhere between the sand and the saltwater and the sun -- a magic works itself on nearly every individual who sets foot on the beach -- and later, when they leave, as they gather up their picnic baskets and shake the sand from their towels, they may not even realize it, but they feel somehow "better." Lighter. Less worried, more calm. Feeling almost imperceptibly more connected to the world.
If you live here year-round, it's easy to forget just how soothing Siesta can be. For natives, "season" can be a time to stay away from the beach -- who wants to fight the crowds and circle like vultures for a parking spot? But summer's different -- you can park and relax and enjoy ... a lot.
Summertime means the start of Tuesday evening "summer beach runs" -- which begin June 14 and are wildly popular for families, groups, and individuals alike, who show up for fitness and fun. And of course, there's the Drum Circle on Sunday evenings; and the Fourth of July fireworks aren't long off. But one of the best things about Siesta during the sweat-yourself-silly months is that the sunsets are even more magnificent than the rest of the year -- thanks to the summer thunderstorms that rumble and roll over the Gulf waters.
During summer, almost daily, the afternoon thunder lets loose with sky-pounding booms, lightning crackles across the distance, everyone runs for cover, and all hell seems on the verge of breaking loose. But usually within a couple of hours, and sometimes, unbelievably, within a matter a minutes, the storm clouds scatter and the sun begins to emerge -- just in time to begin its slow submerging beyond the horizon.
A lot of our "season" visitors don't get to see this summertime showstopper of almost epic weather followed by some of the sweetest and most dramatic sunsets of the year. More likely to be flanked by mountainous cloud-scapes, summer sunsets run an intoxicating gamut from delicate pastels one night to sizzling fire colors the next. And, summer sunset-watchers seem to be a calmer lot, not needing to snap endless photos, just quietly absorbing the beauty and serenity into body and soul.
When season picks up again in the fall, our little "No. 1" patch of paradise is likely to be even more inundated with people coming from all over the world swooping in to experience the world-famous soul-soothing qualities of Siesta Beach. And that's a good thing -- because our community needs and welcomes all of them. For those of us who live and work here, Siesta's more than just an impeccable beach -- it's a profound contributor to our local economy.
So, this summer, soak it all in as much as you can, and when you shake the last bit of pure white sugar sand from your toes and head home, thank your lucky stars for Siesta. No. 1 in the nation? Yeah, we knew that already.
Write MC at email@example.com.
This story appeared in print on page E33
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