I have always loved the word whimsical although the images it brings up are nothing like the dictionary definition which describes whimsical as a "playfully quaint or fanciful, esp. in an appealing or amusing way; acting or behaving in a capricious manner." However, I think of whimsical I think about soft images and a place where ones thoughts could run in any direction. This is why the setting in Changing Tides has always seemed whimsical to me despite being the backdrop for some pretty major issues Mira, the main character, is dealing with.
The following is my original opening, which I have since altered and added to:
My gaze strayed out across the horizon and the great pulsing force my grandmother referred to as the sea. The waves rolled up the beach as I walked leaving the sand smooth and wet. It clung to my toes in great knobby-growths, thick and sticky, until the next wave washed over my ankles and carried the whole mass out to sea in it's wake. The cool breeze blowing in made my hair stream out behind me in a flickering golden-wave; it sharp fingers ripped through my sweater, flitting over my skin. Turning I could see where the waves washed away my tracks. It was as if I'd never walked there, the beach a soft unbroken expanse and that suited me fine. My grandmother hadn't seemed to care how many hours I spent out here. "Go on," she's day, smiling. "The Sea gets in your blood. It was in your father's blood." She giggled, "It was all I could do to get him to come in for meals."
Note: The photo above was take in Ontario from the shore of Lake Simco at sunset.