It’s time again to be on the beach. Every year we leave our beloved mountains and head for open water, where the sun announces itself with a brief reddening of the horizon and then, as if on a spring, pops up and fills the sky with its red gold light.
This morning the shrimp boats are all across the horizon. Last night, around midnight, we could see their navigation lights far from shore. At first light they were still at work, lights on, moving slowly in the sea. As I stepped onto the sandy beach beneath the reddening sky, the tide was coming in, the air was slightly salty and, even though the dark still lay on the land, the early birds, gulls and sand pipers, were doing their morning dance along the moving edge of the sea. It restoreth the soul.
Sitting on the wide screened porch, overlooking the ocean, friends and coffee cups meeting together to welcome the day, our time of renewal begins. We’ll be here time enough to shed the cold we left behind, and the cares that seem to gather like clouds when you are at home where you might be able to do something about it. Here on the Healing Porch, though, all is light, and breeze and the sound of the surf, and since we know we can’t do anything about the things we left behind, we fall into a series of days of conversation, friendly discussion, quiet speculation. We all know we will be back with our cares, but that is days away. We are aware that the ones we left behind, children, grandchildren, dogs that have extended our families, will be there to welcome us, including the newest member of our immediate family (literally any minute now). We are also aware that we cannot do more than wish them all a pleasant and good time while we are away.
For years, as we have enjoyed this annual trek, this healing by the waters, knowing that it will not last beyond the allotted week, but holding the thought that it will come again next year, I have tried to frame a story that would involve not only this place, but these people. I haven’t found the storyline yet, and I’m not sure I ever will. I have written many times about a writer’s way, or at least this writer’s, of filtering everything through the writing process. Well, not everything.
Even though I have written about this annual change of scene in the past, I have never found a plot that would let me include the place and time we occupy here. Perhaps that is more than just lack of ideas; perhaps a desire to savor and keep real this time and place. It is not something easily given up or turned into something else. It is a special place, a special time, and I want to keep it that way.
In the end, I think there is a need to protect and treasure a place and a time, from becoming a part of a made-up life.