A snapshot of the brewing storm, taken by my lovely sis-in-law, Lydia Grace.
We are huddled on the condo porch overlooking the ocean and sky and everything in between. My skin is pink from the sun and my face hot from rubbing sunscreen under my eyes, which are also pink from splashing into chlorine, like the thin rim of watermelon. When I plummet into the clear glass water, I am breaking something, spilling out; I am calm and remembering—perhaps nothing worth retelling, but a kind of rebirth that sounds like a million little hands clapping under water. I hear the popping sound; I squint and swim downward from the center of my belly. Deflating, I push off the slippery bottom to the surface of this sun-filtered water, this sun-drenched honey, just as a writhing fish pops on the line—shimmering coins in the sun.
And now I am here with them, rubbing my pink eyes. Some of us standing, some of us sitting, all of us listening to—baffled by—what should never escape us: the glory of God, the power of his mighty hand, cutting through a summer storm.
Summer storms at the beach are ghosts that demand to be reckoned with; but this one is different. I could hum on about the way it shakes us—the fear that bubbles up when we remember just how human we are, the gushing sheets of rain that rip through the dark, billowing on rooftops and pavement, setting the street lamps on fire, as if each pelt against metal sparks and erupts: a fireworks display. I could recount how the music is sweet, how we are peeling back the edges of sky and ocean with each bolt that lights up our view, as if I would need to, when God himself is composing the flash of a photograph, reminding us where the tide and black blanket sky divide. But my words are short-lived, like the jellyfish in the sand, like the popping in my ears, the quiet pounding of feet on wet tile. We are listening to Simon and Garfunkel, the words homeward bound crackling in our ears, and that's when we know that it is all true and beautiful.