Bethany Beach, Delaware, July 17, 2016

★★★ The flip-flops outside the back door were soft and hot to step into, not long after they’d first been put there. The ocean was banded in light and dark indigo, and there was more of it in view than there’d been a year ago, before the big winter storm. The air felt as if it were smearing a salty paste onto exposed skin. The walk to the bicycle shop and the brief ride back was enough exertion for the nine-year-old; the four-year-old wanted to take one more lap around the parking lot, but only one. With the lights kept off against the heat, the failure of the wifi was a mystery until a neighboring renter knocked to ask if the power had gone out at both addresses. The near part of the ocean had turned cloudy jade in midafternoon, with ink-blue out in the distance. The chilly shock of the water was gone halfway through the third wave running over the feet. If anything, the air felt cooler than the water, as a breeze buffeted damp clothing. The four-year-old, confidence fortified by a part-completed swimming course, decided that he was ready to attract the waves with a boogie board and was flung down in the surf. Young swimmers’ heads vanished and reappeared in the shallows, and visible sand hung inside the waves as they broke. It took three different stages of rinsing to get the sand back off the children.