My first memories of the beach (mid-to late-1960s) revolved around a prime fishing and crabbing destination in Louisiana, Grand Isle. Rising early each morning, my dad couldn't wait for the sun to come up so he could grab his hand-held crab net and wade in the shallow water, coming up with those soon-to-be-boiled Louisiana delicacies. My mom loved to crab, too, but as a native Louisiana Cajun, the pull of the Gulf meant so much more than merely crabbing. She actually learned how to swim in Vermilion Bay as a child in the 1920s and early '30s, so wading in the the dark, salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico was wonderfully familiar to her, a return to her roots.
As a child, I loved searching for treasures, thinking every shell (or remnant thereof) was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I also remember the feel of the sand on my (tennis-shoe-clad) feet. My parents' rule: No walking barefoot on the beach at Grand Isle. Taking just a few steps on the sandy shore made their reasoning perfectly clear. This was a destination for sportsmen, and the beach collected many a fisherman's bent hook, just waiting to work it's way into the barren sole of an unlucky passerby.
My parents taught me to embrace the Gulf safely, to marvel in its majesty, to smell the air and feel the salty, healing water on my skin. What a feast for my senses, in contrast to chlorinated pools, the only places where I had swum before. Swimming at Grand Isle meant riding the waves, feeling sea animals pinch my toes, dodging jellyfish, and being unable to see the bottom! I will always remember our yearly excursions to Grand Isle, LA and my earliest fascination with the mysteries of the Gulf.
As an adult, I make a yearly pilgrimage to Port Aransas, TX for a songwriter workshop led by Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines, called "Life's a Song". In truth, they can and do hold these workshops at other non-beach locations, but I am drawn to Port A. There is just something about the beach to awaken my senses, clear my mind, and give me peace. I guess it's MY turn to return to my roots, of sorts, even though only for a couple of days.
Shortly after my return home from my 2012 Port Aransas weekend, totally re-energized, I decided to write a song that celebrated the 5 senses. I'd love for you to take a look at the video of my song, entitled Seaside Symphony. Pictures and live footage were taken in November 2013, during my yearly "Life's a Song" weekend. The video was masterfully created by Daniel Lee of Boonelight Productions.
Special thanks to Betsy Braud (on flute), Dave Hinson (on bass), and Daniel Lee (production and lead guitar) for helping bring my song to life. I hope my video brings back fond beach memories for you as well!
until my next blog, peace and love to you...dorothy