I have just returned from five days on the beach at Varadero. I have never been in the ocean that far south, so this was my first experience with relatively warm ocean water (our Cuban tour guide told us that it is still much too cold for Cubans to be in the water). I am also used to the cooler colours of the ocean farther north.
The waves in Varadero are the most brilliant turquoise. Well, they are a lovely turquoise, but through the lenses in my sunglasses, the colour becomes really spectacular. There are bands of a bright dark blue that cross the bands of lighter and deeper green, and all are flecked with white tops here and there. It is lovely and inviting. The waves while we were there were gentle: they moved in and out with just enough force to move us and with less force than the winds on the beach.
Rob and I arrived in Varadero late on Saturday night. Sunday, we went to a meeting with the tour rep, so we were later getting down to the beach than we would have liked. Our preference is usually to get to the beach quickly. We love walking at the edge of the water and, when it is warm enough, to go right into the water. Two years ago, we were in the waters of Myrtle Beach when I was surprised by an unusually playful wave. When I surfaced, I had lost my prescription sunglasses.
This trip, Rob stopped at a stand at the airport to buy strings so that we could be confident of holding on to our sunglasses. We were wearing our glasses safely on those strings as we took our first walk on the beach at Varadero. I was so enthusiastic about the rich, wonderful colours of the water, that Rob wanted to see too. So I handed him my sunglasses and he let his fall on their string while he took a look at the vision I had been describing.
When he handed back my glasses and reached for his own, he discovered that he was missing a lens. The tiny screw was still in place, but the frame was open and the lens was gone. We began to search the sand at the waters edge. It's a tricky thing to look for anything at the edge of the water, while the waves sweep in and out without any interest at all in our search.
Any sensible person knew right away that the lens was gone. We hadn't noticed it fall, and had no idea how many times the sand had shifted over it, how many waves had pulled it in different directions. We looked for several minutes, with our eyes and our hands and our toes. It was gone. We were ready to give up.
Not quite. One more chance. I watched the movement of the waves and moved fifteen feet farther along the beach. My eyes were pulled to the light on a piece of glass. I reached down - it skidded away. My eyes held the lens before my fingers did.
It would have been sensible to give the lens up for lost. We almost did. But two more minutes and fifteen feet gave us both the lens and a story.