i lived in florida. merely 14 miles from the gulf of mexico. for eight plus years. yet, i can count the number of times i went to the beach while i lived there. likely on two hands. i spent more time on the gulf before living there and after living there. just not during.
as a teenager and young adult i was at the north shore all the time. biking there, vw-ing there, boating, diving, fishing, walking, climbing the fence to take sunrise pictures – winter, spring, summer, fall. all the time.
in recent years i’ve yearned for the days on those long island beaches. and, though they are remarkably beautiful and warm and sunny and tan-producing (definitely not important anymore), i can’t really say the same for the florida beaches. i don’t find myself pining for them.
maybe it’s just my history with them. or, perhaps, the lack thereof.
the other day we went to the beach. on lake michigan. we walked and walked for a couple of hours, searching for hagstones and paintable flat rocks. then we settled down on a big log of driftwood in soft sand and sat and watched the waves. we wished we had a picnic lunch with us and a good book. it was that kind of day. the only thing that drove us out was hunger.
but we’ll go back, because the beauty of that beach was powerful.
when you live with someone who also likes to walk, you will walk anywhere. strolling in the ‘hood, hiking on the trail, trolling for stones on the beach. it’s the thing we do when all else stops – all work, all tasks. it’s the thing we do when we want all else to stop – all wistfulness, all thought, all worry, all out-and-out angst.
it’s funny to me that there was this big chunk of my life when i wasn’t walking, wasn’t hiking. just like this big chunk of my life when i wasn’t going to the beach – to stare at the waves, to watch gulls swoop and dive in the wind, to find the gifts of the air and the water – tuning into soul and energy, soothing and healing.
i’ve pondered, before, what would have happened had i walked. now i ponder what would have happened had i gone to the beach.
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