Friday, July 29, 2016

Kite Flying By The Ocean...Part I

I’ve been at the beach for the past week enjoying time with my family on our annual summer vacation. We alternate beaches and have visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Gulf Coast of Florida, and of course, the beaches on the Georgia Coast. We tend to favor the Georgia beaches more because it is the halfway point for my sister and her family when they travel south. We’ve really enjoyed visiting the Outer Banks over the years but we like to go in September when it isn’t so hot but with a house full of teenagers who are already in school by that time timing has become an issue.

This year our destination was Tybee Island which is located about 20 miles from Savannah. For whatever reason, I have been lucky enough to visit the ocean three times in the last four months and as one of my friends, Gail remarked, “The ocean is a healing place.”

My response was a usual quip, “I must need it,”  but her words got me thinking about my attitude when I am going, I’m there, or after I have returned from a visit to the ocean. I am different. Other than being hot and sweaty in all the wrong places and trying to make a decision on whether I will have the fried shrimp dinner or the fried shrimp platter at the restaurants we visit no other decisions are required of me. I’m fairly easy-going by nature and the moods around the ocean enhance that trait. It could be just the fact that I am on vacation that mellows me out but some of the last few trips that Mom and I have made—up the East Coast last year, a bus trip to the Grand Canyon and a boat ride down the Danube in Germany in December left little time for relaxation.  It was go, go go or you’ll miss the boat (which I almost did in Germany when I went hunting for spicy mustard up the street and  I spent too much time in the souvenir shop in NYC when visiting the Statue of Liberty), I don’t have to worry about that when I’m at the beach. If I miss something, I can always catch it the next day because the waves are always rolling and crashing in, right?

Maybe not?

Some days, life is about timing and every once in a while, my timing is right. Yesterday, I had one of those days that when I look back on it in the future I’ll wonder how I was lucky to have such a perfect day. It started, ironically enough, by my inability to sleep and as I saw the first rays of morning creeping through the window I thought of the sunset that I’d yet to witness on this trip. I only gave it a thought because I rolled over, put the pillow back over my head and tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work, because nature called and then I was up for good. It was 6:15 and I thought sunrise was at 6:25 so I threw on my clothes from the night before, and took my spectacular crown of bed head and my unwashed self to the beach which was probably only about 300 yards away.

Only a handful of souls were walking the beach at that time of day and none were within a hundred yards of me. I had my phone with me ready to document the birth of the sun on this morning and I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. The sun didn’t come up when it was supposed to and I waited a few more minutes snapping a few photos of the morning tide and finally concluded that it was too cloudy for the sun to be seen. I had my back to the ocean and snapping one last selfie when a flash of brightness reflected off my screen and momentarily blinded me. I turned around and there it was: the sun. I checked the time and it was 6:45—either it was late or I’d gotten the time wrong. It didn’t matter because the timing was right and even though I was being so preoccupied like everyone else these days by having my face buried in a screen I was somehow lucky enough to view a brilliant sunrise.

I spent the next few minutes walking along the shore and had a few pictures of the sunset that I thought I would share on my Facebook page for others to enjoy. Again, my face was buried in my screen and I was startled when a wave nearly overtook me and I scurried a few steps back. I’d almost walked straight into the water because I was worrying about something other than what was right in front of me and when I looked up and out at the ocean I was delighted to see a group of dolphins swimming parallel along the beach. Again, even though it almost swept me out to sea, something wanted me to see those dolphins and the timing was just right.

Later, after I returned to the beach house and went back to bed, I was surprised to wake up and find out it was after noon but Mom summed it up perfectly: “You’ve seen the sun come up, a pod of dolphins, had your breakfast and your daily nap all taken care of by noon—that’s a great day. Now, you’ve got the rest of the day to explore, read, or do nothing, but first, it’s time for lunch. Are you going to have the platter or the dinner?”

Check back for part two tomorrow….

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