Twice a day we take the ocean walk, morning and late afternoon.
At sunrise that beautiful orb rises up from the far edge of the waters, but we often sleep too late.
It’s vacation time in Florida, and we’re sometimes too lazy to get right out,
but any time of day there are the people.
Like us, they’re mainly old, many fighting the aging battle with exercise and dyed hair.
There are fast walkers and slow walkers
and even some pushing metal walkers, or jogging.
Some walk alone and some stride with friends.
Quickly or leisurely their paces vary,
as do their languages—mainly English or Spanish, but occasionally more foreign tongues—
and their accents—too many New York Jews, according to one bigot I know.
Some say hi and some walk glumly by,
some we’ve gotten to know and greet warmly,
happy to see they’ve survived another year
and are back to walk in the February sun.
There’s the Youngstown retired steel worker who walks briskly,
shirt over his suntanned shoulder;
the little old lady who jogs in the street,
her outfit colorfully coordinated from head to toe;
the two women friends from Boston who like to go to
Spring Training games;
and the London lady whose good morning accent we like to hear.
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And there’s much to see on the beach that stretches from sidewalk to sea.
On some days, the seagulls seem stalled flapping their wings into the wind.
But it’s mainly the people,
sitting in their folding portable chairs or on blue-canopied wooden cabanas,
chatting or reading a book.
Most of the bodies are tanned but old, the men’s bellies having expanded with their years,
and the women’s breasts sagging now, not as proudly jutting out as they once did.
But occasionally, especially on weekends, younger bodies and even kids appear.
They’re more prominent near the volleyball nets behind JB’s and Oceans 234,
where people dine al fresco,
paying to consume their food and drinks while looking at sand and sea—and younger bodies.
Walter G. Moss