Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The beach at night

Tonight is beautiful. It's cool, breezy, quiet. It's one of those nights I want to walk on the beach. But I'm a woman and therefore do not feel safe strolling the beach alone at 11:30 at night. So I write, and feel the breeze coming through my window. My kittens sit on the windowsill, staring out longingly into the night as well.

I don't spend enough time at the beach - day or night. When I lived in Maryland, I used to drive 3 hours to the Ocean City beaches. Sometimes I'd go out and back in one day. I'd often just get in my car and drive. Not only to Ocean City but wherever; most times with no destination other than into my heart. That's what those drives to OC were all about. That's what walking on the beach is all about. So I guess I'm feeling a nudge to enter my heart tonight.

When I think about the beach and enter my heart, so many snapshots flash through my mind. Snapshots of longing and hope, play and fear, pain and regret. I'm a little girl on the Michigan shore. I'm a teenager at Ocean City. I'm a young adult looking out at Seattle's waterfront. I'm a newlywed, on the sandy beaches of the turquoise Caribbean waters. I'm a woman about to turn 30 back on the Michigan shore. But the little girl on the shore is laughing and splashing in the water. The woman only gets her feet wet and there's a self-consciousness about her that keeps her from the playful, lightheartedness of the girl. The years between them are only heavy for the woman because she is still carrying them.