Commentary: Return to paradise

With no red tide, Siesta Beach again a place of beauty

Harriet Cuthbert

I just swam past the most beautiful fish. I could tell from his “smile” and the way he circled around me how happy he was — happy to know he would not be getting sick from algae, happy to know he would not be suffering a slow and agonizing death for no explicable reason, happy to know he could swim in the gulf at Siesta Beach for as long as he wanted and he would remain unharmed.

I arrived at my favorite beach about 8:30 a.m. on a recent day — still plenty of parking until the secret got out (it took an hour). Once again, the sun in the perfect, cloudless, azure sky reflected onto the powdery quartz sand of our beach. A slight breeze added to the splendor of the scene, which took my breath away. I had to stand still awhile to absorb its beauty.  I did no smell a thing; I did not see a single dead fish. I saw nothing but clear blue water and perfectly clean, untouched sand.

The “sandman” was back, creating his favorite animals for the visitors. The kids were running into the 83-degree water with so much joy. The lifeguard arrived and put up our American flag and alongside it, he happily put up the green flag, which meant conditions were clear for swimming.

Wait, were those dolphins swimming past us? Or was it my imagination, hoping to see our most beautiful friends back, smiling, swimming, jumping for joy? When a large group of happy people, sitting at the edge of the very low tide mark, all pointed out the mammals together, I followed their lead and saw the dolphins.

All systems were “Go.” I had my wonderful beach back.