Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Painful Encounters

Nature envelopes us in our ocean-front accommodations.

In the morning, we sip coffee and nibble on blackberries as we survey
the wild surf, kicked into action by a cold front that has followed us
to nearly the southern tip of Texas. It's a bit chilly (40s,
with a powerful wind), so we stay inside Otto and watch the waves from our front-row seat.

For $4 a night, at Padre Island National Seashore
outside Corpus Christi, Texas, we get sand, surf, 20-mile-an-
hour wind, rattlesnakes, coyotes, deer and kangaroo mice.

And we love nearly all of it. In fact, while writing this, I hear the
cry of a nearby coyote on the move, hunting down dinner. Perhaps the
deer we saw earlier. Our dogs pay no attention.

There is one natural invader we can't withstand: the sand burr, which
grows prolifically along the edge of the sand dunes. This small,
unassuming weed (see in the pic how small they are) cripples our
dogs, who raise their paws in agony, pleading with us to help. When we
dig out the offenders from between their toes, we find we have transfered the pain from them to us. The burrs behave like Velcro.

Our only defense? Gloves. And avoidance.

So now we walk (umm, cripple, at least for a while) on three surfaces only: pavement, boardwalk and surf-front sand.