“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth”
Cape San Blas
“On the way” to family and Minerva in stasis, is Florida’s Panhandle. With the desire for our favorite vehicle for rest and reboot called “Beach,” we dropped out of the Interstate corridor for some coastline adventure. Moving South eastward, we eased our way through Panama City, one traffic light at a time. This Spring Break Mecca is an older, possibly more tired version of Ft Walton Beach. FWB being a 20- someone’s idea of “The Beach.” The string of beach towns on this corridor are a congestion of high rise hotels, Beachfront Bars, and multiple editions of bright blue beach emporiums memorable for their subtly suggestive 30 ft shark painted on the front. Beach is baudy here. It isn’t a set, or even a back drop to fun in the sun. It is a drop cloth to the uniquely human search for diversion and debauchery. I was hopeful that our destination was something completely different.
To the Real Estate hawkers, and to internet searchers such as myself it is “the Forgotten Coast.” http://www.forgottencoastline.com/ If forgotten means natural and undeveloped, let’s hope everyone not already living here, continues to have amnesia. This is not a Florida that I have ever seen. It is still alive and breathing. The sands sway on the hips of the gentle and powerful mother gulf, there is life here on the edges.
We are in a place call Cape San Blas, Florida. A thin arm of green trees and white sand sprinkled precariously in the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico facing a real small town called Port St. Joe.” Y’all have a nice day,” seems to have some meaning here. Just after Port St. Joe’s, and just before Indian Pass and Apalachicola a spit of land elbows outward and upward. This pile of sand points at such a rakish angle that movement over time and weather is virtually guaranteed. The real estate signs announce these lots as X. As in X marks the spot for the next washout. Don’t bother to call us unless you like risk, the risk of discounting the purpose of barrier beach in the natural scheme of things. There is a great deal of humor in Nature.
Apalachicola…., let that name roll off your tongue a few times. Apalachicola. It is somehow more than a name. It creates a sound that is something between a song and a sneeze. Anyplace with a name that melodic must hold some magic. This is the land of oysters and shrimp by sea and hushpuppies by land. It is impossibly white sand that is soft on the feet, small waves to watch and sunsets that delineate the days. A good place to catch up with the pieces of ourselves that we have dropped along the way.