In the morning we played football on the beach. The breeze had no temperature and the sand felt like dry cake mix on my feet. Grand alabaster clouds hovered in the distant blue, their edges tipped in silvery frosting. As we sparred up and down the shore, laughing and sweating and playing, the water swelled and bursted beside us in a concert of unyielding nature. Occasionally we stopped to cool our ankles in the surf and stare at the dunes, their dying grasses waving back at us in the wind. For a long stretch everything was beautiful. It was autumn and I was home.