Coastal living

16 Mar

I didn’t want to leave.

Usually the sea doesn’t have such a strong pull on my heart.

I’ve always enjoyed being at the seashore. I’m not a huge fan of being in the ocean, but I like being on the shore. I’m mesmerized by the constant crashing of waves.  The salt on my lips is much tastier than the sand I used to grit between my teeth while growing up in west Texas. I love to find sea glass and shells. I’m intrigued by the multiple colors of jellyfish. I like to watch the sand crabs dig holes, spot a dolphin’s arc above the water’s surface. I think boats — shrimpers, sailboats, even battleships — are works of art.

And now that my kids are teenagers, I don’t have to keep such a close eye on them.

I can wander.

Yesterday I found a perfect little sand dollar, maybe an inch in diameter.

I picked it up and decided to rinse it off before toting it home.

I wasn’t gentle enough. It broke into pieces, and I tossed it back into the sea.

Someone else will come along later this week, perhaps further down the shore, and find its pieces. They’ll walk away because it isn’t perfect. They’ll keep looking until they find a complete sand dollar. They might get lucky.

If I lived on the coast, I’d happily lose hours walking the water’s edge  in search for that perfect sea specimen.

I’d learn the moon phases.

I’d come to understand the tides.

I might even become that woman everyone notices but pretends not to see — the one with the giant headphones and mismatched clothes who combs the beach slowly, metal detector in hand, hoping to discover a treasure.

Alone, but never lonely.

What does she listen to through those headphones? What could possibly warrant so much attention that she willingly gives up the sounds of the sea?

I’d be a more radical version of her. I’d wear hats:

Big hats. From another era. Just like the one my friend Shelly is wearing in the photo above.

And I’d dance. Fearlessly. And for hours.

I’d feed the seagulls and watch the sunbathers scatter like flies.

And I’d laugh.

Because I could.

Because I’m the woman on the beach everyone sees but chooses to ignore.

Happy treasure hunting!

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One Response to “Coastal living”

  1. Ann March 18, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    What a precious post, clearly written straight from your heart. I loved reading this and I may, too,be that woman on the beach. Wouldn’t that be a sweet place to find ourselves as we get older and” free-er” ? Love the sentiment “alone but never lonely”.

    Thanks for starting my day with such happy inspiration.

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