Bethany Beach, Delaware, July 18, 2017

★★★★ The waves were of no particular color and they came in irregular but strong, some of them making compact tubes before they smashed and acquired the color of sand and foam. Boogie boarders threw themselves at them, standing upright only long enough to be knocked over. A blue blur of spray hung over the populated part of the beach. Dolphins showed their fins and then long stretches of their dark backs, moving north to south, not at all far beyond the people in the water. Ospreys too were coming close and low. One stooped toward the water, pulled up, then finished the dive and came up struggling with a fish. It headed off, laboring just above the swells, and then the sight of its progress was cut off by a huge wave rearing up, already glassy-tipped and inescapably breaking. Then there was nothing but the swirl of sand and water, in bright and directionless confusion before the bottom became the bottom again and the salty sky became up. The afternoon sun on the mini-golf course was sharp enough to raise doubt about the sunscreen. The children got in the way of each other’s putts and then in the way of each other till the five-year-old fell on an obstacle rock and got up scraped. On its way down the sun was still searingly hot on the deck. Swifts or swallows crisscrossed the sky as the light shone on the clouds from below.