Off highway A1A in Florida, I had pulled into Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. Parking on the side of the road going northbound, I had hobbled out my vehicle on an aggravated right knee. Coming down the boardwalk for beach access, the orange sands had contrasted with the rich green colors of the turbulent Atlantic Ocean. After making a quick entry into the surf, I had noticed a significant undercurrent; however, unlike Canaveral National Shores in Titusville, this turbulence had decreased with the drop off in depth. With the sunshine providing different colored hues of the seafloor, my mind had kept mistaking shadows and sand for a seafaring predator like a shark.
Moving back onto the beach, the sand was cool, soft and firm. Thankfully, it had lacked the stone washed rocks of the shallow shores of Honeymoon Island, Florida. Near the sand dunes, sea oats had moved casually around in the light breeze. Nearing the base of the sea oats, numerous ghost crab holes had lined the sandy slopes up and down the shoreline. At the threshold of dunes had appeared a large depression. Approaching closer, this hole had seemed the size of large turtle, perhaps a nest? Examining tiny track markings, I had wondered, baby turtles or scavenging crabs?
Turning my back to the dunes, I had gazed upon my friend swimming against the dark waves. A slight bit of fear had entered my mind. Should a swimming emergency arise, what kind of strength and courage had I housed? What if I had lacked the potential for handling such an event? Years ago, a local musician had attempted a rescue of drowning man on this very beach. He had done this despite age and an advanced arthritic condition. In the end, both men had perished in the rough seas. What had survived? The story of a selfless act for a fellow man, which posthumously had earned Gamble Roger recognition as the area’s namesake. On this day, this stretch of beach had provided entertainment but, also a piece of ironic introspection.
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach, Florida (Florida State Park)