Bethany Beach, Delaware, July 22, 2013

★★★★ The initial confrontation with the sand was a blur of white heat again, but not as hot as the previous day’s. Dark gray clouds lay off to the north and west, either promising to moderate the day or threatening to scuttle it. Sometime in the course of morning sandcastle construction, the gray was replaced by something white and lacy. The water was not too chilly, though the older boy screamed when it splashed up on him; the tide was outbound, but the individual waves bucked the agenda, suddenly charging through hip-high instead of ankle-, wrecking the entrenchments someone was digging higher up on the sand. A breeze ambled up the boardwalk. Toward evening, as the carts trundled away from the beach, a long scrap of cloud dampened the sun. The toddler took a pail and shovel and dug in the roadside gravel. Laughing gulls screeched over the snack shops, and the toddler screeched back.