On Friday I had a wonderful day. I used to think of these in absolute terms—a wonderful day must be filled only with wonderful things. But I’m realizing that wonderful days can have mediocre parts—I think it’s only fair that way. On Friday we were midway through a four-day hiking trip through Santa Rosa National Park. We’d gotten up at 4:45 to beat the heat and hiked all day—through a tropical dry forest (desert, if I had to say). The beach—though at the end of the path, was at the forefront of our minds. We weren’t allowed to swim there (rough surf and sharks and alligators!), but we’d heard that the water was cool due to the currents—perfect to soak hot feet. Finally, through a corridor of trees we saw the ocean. It was as deserted and as pristine and as chilly as I’d envisioned and our feet sunk deep into the fine sand with each wave. But as I am my mother’s daughter, I wanted to swim. So a friend and I walked a few miles down to the end of the beach where it’s calmer, and fully clothed we dunked in. I have never felt more exhilarated—the shock of the cold and the thrill of secrecy. On our walk back, I had to force myself not to collect every single shell. I wish I didn’t have this incessant need to take the beach home with me but I’m glad to have these tangible crustacean reminders of a wonderful day.

Our destination

Our eden

Our journey's end

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