Nantasket Beach

August 24, 2012

I lived in New England a long time before I got over my distaste for the beach.  Until I was ten, I spent each summer day at a pool. When we moved, it was to a place called Mountain Lakes. It took me time, I wasn’t crazy about sharing the water with fish, but I got used to it. For years, the beach always seemed too damn sandy and too bright. The  boom boxes were loud and the seagulls were greedy for lunch.

I got over it. Today was my day at the beach. 

We didn’t get there until around 2. The tide was coming in. The water was chilly, but not painful. (Yes, pain is often part of the New England experience.) I dove into the belly of a wave, into the dark cold depths, and then she lifted me back up. I floated. I chased my daughter. I caught a ball. I lost a ball. I raced the waves, I lost, I won. I rode high on the crest, I slipped in underneath and came out the other side.

In the ocean’s arms, I am not 50 or 5. I am a slip of skin, a bag of bones in the middle of  a wet world that lifts me,  throws me over, then lifts me again holds me floating for hours, or minutes. I am the loved and the a lover. I was tickled by crabs and tangled in seaweed. I was stunned, and fell when I walked back into a wall of water. I swam strong easy strokes against the tide. I was home. 

That was just a few hours ago. I showered but there is still a little sand on my skin. My mouth tastes like salt. I have a burn on my ankle that didn’t get sunblock. A long day at the beach leaves me marked, spent and hungry for more. 

 

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