I'm celebrating with an afternoon by Lauren's parents' pool down the street (where we spent many a happy afternoon as kids) with rhubarb lemonades and vague attempts to stay cool.
*Update: I'm back from the pool. It takes me a long time to eek out blog posts. This is being written in many, many sittings. The pool was heavenly.*
As much as I'd like to be at the beach, we're settling for the pool today (and very, very grateful for it). I'm not far from the beach -- the closest one is only a little over an hour away -- but hardly ever get there. I've been twice already this year, which is more than some summers altogether, and I like it. I love it. The cooler, emptier, out-of-seasoner the better.
I've discovered this newfound love of the ocean fairly recently -- I wasn't always fond of it. The heat, the sand, the sweat, the stickiness, swimming in the harsh waves -- I felt guilty about not liking it, but I just didn't. My father would make us wake up far too early for family beach trips when we were little and undoubtedly we'd leave later than he wanted -- stress, stress, stress. I'd be cajoled into going into the sea with my brother and sister, and almost always end up scared and sputtering with salt water up my nose, afraid of the enormous waves that tore through me.
It wasn't my thing.
Until a few years ago during a family reunion-vacation to Emerald Isle off the shore of North Carolina. There's something about that seacoast that urged me to make it different, to create a better experience for myself. And so one day, I did just that.
I woke up early in the Big Red House (it fit about 20 of us) and brewed some coffee. I grabbed a banana and my journal and headed for the beach. The sky was just turning pink and it was so peaceful. This was a beach I had never experienced before. The gentle crashing of the waves, the cool air, the still sand, the birds chirping. It totally transformed my opinion of the beach. I remember that morning clearly, some three years ago, and cherish it to this day. I wish I still had that journal entry.
From there I had love affairs with the coast of Maine. Newport, Rhode Island. More places in Connecticut. Rivers in Florida (not quite the same, but still!). I began to think back and recall my love for Clifton Beach in South Africa. Any beach in South Africa. The western coast of Haiti. I'd always felt the pull, and realized it that morning.
I'm in love with the waves. I'm in love with the tides. I'm in love with the long, wide edge on the horizon. I'm in love with its British Romantic feel. I'm in love with sea glass, and shells, and smooth stones. I'm in love with birds flying overhead. I'm in love with digging my feet into the sand. I'm in love with its cadence and rhythm and the grounding it gives me.
So this solstice, I wish for many more trips to the beach. Unknown beaches I've yet to explore and beaches right around the corner.
This summer, it's calling me.