The Heraclee sky was a lurid, neon blue but the morning was surprisingly cool (at 54°). The antemeridian sun managed to cast sharp, surreal, black-hole shadows, giving the world a baroque art look, as if we were strolling through a Rembrandt painting, where everything is defined by shadows.
The lavish breeze, coming up off the Mediterranean Sea, seemed compressed and frantic, as if trying to flee the choppy, sapphire water. Tall marsh grasses waved back and forth, as if to unheard music, reminding me of 60-thousand swaying arms at the Taylor Swift concert.
Higher up, the wind played with feather-like clouds, making them seem to rise, fall and spill over each other in their race for the horizon. On the beach, there were ten or more colorful, elaborate kites - the French love their multi-wired stunt kites.
There was a dragon, a multi-color WWI biplane, there were bird kites, an octopus and a swooping butterfly. We watched them for a while, from a hill. “I’m going to get one of those,” Peter said, dreamily (for use on the Malibu beach his parents' modest home overlooks).
A little later, Peter and I decided to bike down to the beach from the hotel. The idea was valid but the bikes, seeming leftovers from World War 2, shook and rattled like percussion instruments as we made the death-defying plunge down the steep, uneven stone-laid path. We were laughing, screaming and half convinced we’d die by the time we reached the bottom.
Once there, a snooty concierge said, “That is NOT the bike path.” Which seemed hilarious. When Peter replied, dead faced, “We’re American,” as if that were an internationally understood pass for being stupid. It made us laugh so hard we couldn’t look at each other for a couple of minutes. I don’t know which hurt more, my bottom or my side.
As our guffaws were dying down, Charles arrived on the bike path.
“Why’d you do THAT?” (take the wrong path) he asked, with a tone of irritated censure.
“There was a sign,” I argued, gasping for air from my still doubled up laughing position, “that said ‘Bike Path?’" my voice rising like a sarcastic question.
“You didn’t notice the ten-inch tall, blue arrow under the words pointing to the bike path?”
Sometimes Charles can be extra over - as in overprotective and over-reactive.
As Cherles and I wrangled away, Peter stood patiently by, waiting. He doesn’t argue with Charles, he says he finds the 6-foot-3-inch, retired NYC policeman a little intimidating.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said, dismissively, “he’s a big ‘ol teddy bear.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Censure: a reprimand from an authority.
Heraclee = a lesser known beach about 11 miles from Saint-Tropez, France.
antemeridian = morning