PERFECT day


We went to the beach today.

It was the first time since February that I found myself afloat in the Atlantic ocean.

Perfect.

The kids were so excited to be there, even though the waves were a little bit daunting. I was with my daughter and one of her best friends. Two fabulous moms at the beach with their happy, excited, beautiful kids.

The sun was out. There was a gentle breeze. Fish were feeding off shore and terns were diving.

We met families celebrating 4th birthdays, families from abroad, families of young people who were clearly just starting out. There were other grandparents, smiling with joy at their little ones.

There was salt. And sand covered fruit. And the booming of the waves. And the sound of children and gulls screaming together.

It was a perfect day.

I floated. I jumped in the waves. I made sand castles with Ellie and pushed a toy beach buggy down the sand with Johnny. I jumped through the surf with Hazel. I laughed with three little children, and shared my lunch with all of them.

I spent the day with my firstborn child, my amazing and beautiful daughter.

I am undeservedly lucky, and humbled by that fact.

It was one PERFECT. DAY.

Sometimes you just have to jump in.


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Last weekend I went away for a few days of fun and rejuvenation with some of my oldest friends. We are six middle aged women who have known each other since Girl Scouts, skinned knees, recess, first dates, first dances, first heartbreaks.  We got together so that we could reconnect.  In part we wanted to reconnect with each other, but I think that mostly we all needed to reconnect with ourselves.

We knew each other way back when. As one of my friends put it, “We knew each other before we became ourselves.”

It was a remarkable weekend. We laughed. A lot. We ate. A lot. We drank. Hoo, baby, and that was fun!

We kicked off our everyday selves and shed the responsibilities and expectations, just for a few short days. Days of letting go and sleeping in and acting silly in a way that middle aged ladies are not often encouraged to do.

And we went to the beach.

Now, it’s important to explain that we live in New England, where October beach days are generally spent in sweatshirts and hoods, with wool socks on our feet. We had hoped to walk on the beach, but when we packed, we were expecting rain and wind and at least a bit of New England cold.

Only this is the era of global warming.

We found ourselves walking, in our jeans and t shirts, along a sunny, hot New England beach. We collected shells and stones, and we took pictures and we looked out at the beautiful blue surf.

And eventually, we started to talk.

“Gee, it’s really hot out.”

“What a great day to swim.”

Nobody was in a bathing suit, except for one brave soul who wore her bathing suit top under her shirt.

We hadn’t come prepared. We didn’t have towels or dry clothes, never mind bathing suits.

But the waves were rolling in. The sun was shining off the water. The sand was warm, the air was balmy.

And so we did what we couldn’t possibly have skipped.

We ran into the waves in our clothes, with our middle aged bodies, laughing the whole way. And we dove and splashed and body surfed and yelped and crowed.

It was heaven.

Even when we had to make the ten minute walk back to our rented house, with our clothes dripping and our hair filled with sand, it was still pure heaven.

Sometimes you realize that life is just too short. It’s just too short and too unpredictable to miss a chance to jump in the ocean while you can.

What a wonderful moment to cherish.

 

Something about the sea


I don’t know what it is about the sea.  I don’t know why it reaches out to us and grabs us and pulls us in so completely.

A gull on Assateague Island.

All I know is that every time I smell the salt smell of the ocean breeze, my lungs feel more open. My heart feels stronger. I can feel the blood moving in my veins.

I feel more myself when I am in the ocean’s arms.

When I see a gull, swooping out over the rolling waves, I almost believe for a moment that I too can soar away as far as the winds can carry me.  I almost believe that I can be that free, just for a little while.

It doesn’t matter what beach or coast I am on when I find myself in a spot where I can see the ocean at last.  As long as I can touch my lips with the tip of my tongue and taste the briny tang of salt and seaweed, I am home.

A winter day on the Massachusetts coast.

The ocean in winter is spectacular.  Cold and so sharp.  The beautiful gray of the water merges with the icy gray of the clouds. A study in monochromatic beauty.  I wish so much that I could live in a place where I’d see the ocean racing in every winter day.

But the ocean in summer, on a sweet July evening, in a place where the blue ocean meets the crystal sands.  Nothing in life is more alluring to me than that.  The spiky shards of beach grass poking up through the white sand, the restless movement of the dunes.  The incredible sight of a sailboat passing in the twilight.  Almost too pretty to be real!

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I would give anything I have to one day live in a place where I could watch that motion every single day.

Ah, but if wishes were horses……..

For now, I will have to content myself with occasional days at the beach with friends, walking in the surf, watching the gulls, finding sand dollars, daring each other to dunk in the freezing waters of high tide.

For now, I will count myself lucky to live as close to the Atlantic as I do.

For now, I’ll have to keep dreaming of one day owning that beach house.

It feels like it will never end…..


Winter.

It keeps coming at you, even when you think it is finally done.

Last weekend was the start of “Daylight Savings Time” and at long last, I am coming home in the daylight hours.  Spring must surely be on its way.  St. Patrick’s day is coming up fast, there are daffodils for sale in all the local groceries.

Spring must be near!  Time to think of seedlings and lawn care and bug spray.  Time to think of flip flops.

Except that it is snowing tonight.

Big, fat flakes of fluffy white poison, floating down and coating the deck once again.

Spring? You coming?!  Of course you are!  The vernal equinox is only a few days away!  Time to think of chicks and bunnies and peeps and pastel colored sweaters.  Time for renewal and rebirth and lambs and tulips and Cadbury Creme Eggs!

Except that the weather channel is predicting another snow storm on Tuesday.

I know that spring will come.  It always does, right?

But…..you know…..like, what if….I mean, it could happen, right?  What if this is the year when it never arrives? What if we are stuck for eternity in the icy slush of mid-March in New England?  What if the grass never shows up, the crocuses are locked for good beneath the layer of frozen muck?

What if the days don’t get warm, the birds don’t start to sing and the Red Sox decide to stay in Florida all summer?

It is nights like this that truly test the faith of a person like me.  My bones are cold. My toes are begging to be free.  My heart is yearning for the sound of distant thunder, my nose for the smell of warming earth.  I want to hear the peepers! I want to barbecue some sausage! I want to light a mosquito coil and rub on some SPF 50.

And its snowing.  A lot.

I think that I will go to bed, pull the big pile of fluffy blankies over my head and dream of this:SONY DSC

It has to come eventually.

Doesn’t it?!