ROSEMARY BEACH, Fla. – It’s almost morning, and the birds know it. There is a symphony of chirping, tweeting, warbling, and trilling. Gulls jostle over scraps of fish. Then, the water catches fire with the rising sun, and I can see the Gulf of Mexico cresting, collapsing. Beyond the scrawling signature of the shoreline, a wake chases a fishing boat, and far beyond is the almost imperceptible horizon of sky and sea.
About 10 miles to my left, I see the high-rises of Panama City; to my right, even farther away, are the high-rises of Destin. In between, nothing but sugary beach.