Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Water’s Edge

31 August 2010

Dear J-

I’ve driven home from the beach barefoot — the rime of salt and sand slowly drying as we motor along. When I get to wherever that particular there is, I swing my legs over the side and brush off my feet before getting out of the car, shaking the memory of sun and surf off my head before moving on to more permanent things. Sometimes it feels as though my memories are suspect, like sand castles built too close to the tide line; bringing the remnants home helps to anchor them in my mind. There is nothing like walking barefoot on sand, but I posit there is also nothing like walking barefoot no concrete with sandy feet, nor is there anything like the feel of the worn rubber pedals under bare feet.

I could probably count the number of beaches I’ve been to on a few hands. I think humans have been to any interface between land and water at least once, however; there’s something that draws us, with the inconstant water slowly wearing on the permanent fissures of the land. The water’s role, playful and beguiling at times, stormy and furious at others, contrasts with the solid, stolid earth, reliably predictable and plodding. It is the study of dynamic contrasts that gives us drama.

In the quiet of the dark morning the sea continues its relentless pursuit of each wave ashore followed by another, and another. Light brings activity, and when the light goes down, we build our fires on the beach, heaped high with the castoffs from the ocean, crackling fluid flames reaching into the night until we grow restless and restful and leave the cycle to start again. If you focus on the patterns in life that’s all you’ll ever see, the same series repeated ad infinitum, just as if your world is full of conflict, that’s how you’ll approach your life. The two blend together at water’s edge; you perceive them at once, forever and instantly.

Mike

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Content Creation

1 August 2010

Dear J-

There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in trying to meet up without a plan but suffice it to say that I never did get to see my cousin today coming out of the water after a five-mile swim (according to the table, he did well, just over a couple of hours).  We got there a little too late, I suspect, and because of my nonexistent phone skills, we never bothered to check until the stragglers were coming in.

On the other hand, figgy had a great time at the beach, getting thoroughly soaked (I did my part and walked around barefoot for as long as I could, driving barefoot too, stupid as that may be).  So the primary purpose wasn’t achieved, but we definitely had a good time; it’s been a good weekend, honestly, and no complaints are coming out of my camp tonight.  The envy-meter is low:  I’m not on the outside looking in at things I want or people I want to be.

That’s my key:  contentment.  It’s a question of being able to tune out the voices that insist that if only I had … or if it worked this way … Naw.  Nothing’s perfect.  I learned that when I was picking out a PDA years ago, choice falling between a Palm IIIc, Vx, or the original Sony Clie — they all had pluses and minuses, but it’s what you can live with.  Didn’t meet up; it’s okay.  figgy loves the beach, and I love watching her laugh.  Content, and happy.

Mike

Sandy Center

11 June 2010

Dear J-

I’m a big believer in the power of the sun; as theVet will tell you, I’m always telling her that if you just leave it in the sun for a day or two, the stink will go away, even though it never seems to work out quite that way. It’s silly, I know, but I’ve tried to treat everything from stinky shoes to skin conditions by soaking up rays (here’s a ProTip for you: the sun doesn’t dry things out as well as you might like, especially when the temperature is below freezing; don’t ask).

Hopeless optimism or misunderstanding basic scientific principles? I dunno; I stayed home today as figgy was sick yesterday at daycare (they were alerted by the uncharacteristic crabbiness; for you who believe I was just doing it to get some time off, I’m heading in Sunday to make up the time) and the first thing I knew I found myself headed to the beach for a reboot. If you ever find yourself with a sick day during the week and you’re up for it, there’s nothing wrong with sun, surf, and sand. Not to go in, just to walk along the surfline and listen to the spray in the air crackling with the stuff of life, feeling sand shift underfoot and hiss in response.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a tight grip on figgy as I went in and she had an inadvertent dunking as soon as we got there (inexperience with how to move your feet when underwater, I suspect, coupled with sheer panic). The real effects of the illness came late tonight in the guise of narcolepsy and lost appetite — it’s clear that we did no good with our walk on the beach today, but I wonder if I didn’t reap the benefit myself instead. There’s something about sand and water that always brings me back to myself, and I know the balance I feel tonight is based on those shifting beaches.

Mike

Water Again

14 August 2009

Dear J-

Yesterday I came home and found figgy at home, early; she’d been pulled from day care — the cardinal sin there is leaving or sending a sick kid. Later that night we debated it a little but ended up deciding that I should stay home — whereas I’m a fairly replaceable cog in the machine (with sick time, natch) theVet is, well, the Vet most of the days she works and it would be nigh-impossible to find a short notice fill-in.

Nevertheless I’d been contemplating a Friday off for a few weeks now; between extended traffic in the afternoons and the usual barrage that comes for asynchronous schedules Fridays have been less about getting psyched up for the weekend and more like dreading the coming Monday for the next three days. Today was doubly nice because of the sudden notice; though figgy was up at 2 (between hunger and dehydration, she had a rough night of it), it gave me an opportunity to make some early calls — precluding the inevitable awkward conversation.

This morning was slightly hectic, as we ended up bouncing from store to store getting the usual bland diet supplies — cottage cheese, applesauce, bananas — before we found ourselves at the beach, drawn as if by magnets to the salt air and surf.

Sand Feet 0488 -sm

We are indeed lucky in where we live; if not for the traffic and lack of parking, we would have been fifteen minutes from house to sand. On our honeymoon we spent a week in Maui; we could be found every afternoon in the sea, rain or shine, because of the proximity to the water. figgy and I, we plunged into the surf this morning; we waded in until our hems were wet and splashed like loons. Today we let the water pull at our ankles, sand rushing out with the waves; as soon as I turned off the freeway she was already asking about the ocean, going to see the ocean, going to feel the sand give slightly under bare feet, going to swing and skim the water. Our steps quicken; shoes are discarded and before long we’re in the water again, always.

Mike

Beach Baby

24 May 2009

Dear J-

Some days I think that if I could just pick up stakes overnight, I’d pick up and move to … where? Some days, Halifax, some days Boston, some days Santa Fe, some days Sapporo-Shi; it’s not that we’d find jobs right away or that we’ve got connections out that way, mind you. There’s something tempting about a fresh start waiting out there, but then I check the weather (thunderstorms all WEEK in Santa Fe?) and I go back to examining the life we have now. So easy to turn me off that un-beaten path, huh? Go to the beach for a few hours and suddenly we’re back in paradise.

At one point today I thought I was more like a candle-dipper than a dad; we wandered further into the surf and rather than back away, I hoisted her out of the larger waves — up and down, laughing like loons and feeling the sand slip out from under our feet as the waves ran back out. This after digging frantically for no particular reason, whether to fill the buckets or to create the most convenient hole to fall into. There’s a picture of me from circa 1982 or so — sand-encrusted, shovel in hand, and the biggest grin I can remember. Such are my beach memories; sun driving the surf, surf renewing the sand, sand reflecting the sun.

Deep Mine 2625 -sm

Tomorrow — the mystery of tomorrow implying not literally the day after today — figgy’s going to realize she can choose where to go, what to eat. The language gets a little better, you know; instead of “crackers” it becomes “I want crackers.” The more we can show her, the more experiences we can give her, the better our chances to convince her that we’re not just annoying human-shaped weights to escape from at the earliest opportunity. I look forward to chronicling those adventures; it’s not just the weather that dissuades me from disappearing.

Mike

Big Q

7 September 2008

Dear J-

We went to a barbecue on the beach today; the invite said from nine to one, so we went out to breakfast first, then over to Fiesta Island for the picnic, showing up, even with getting lost, around ten.  We failed to count on allotting time for figgy’s usual mid-morning nap, but figured that the stimulation of sand, sun, and dogs would be able to hold her interest until we could get a little food into us and we’d be on our way.  The hours dragged on and soon we found ourselves listening to her crankily declaim her deep and abiding desire for a nap, as well as denouncing the parents who apparently stood between her and that goal.

One of the milestones in growing up I think is learning that things you consider important aren’t necessarily of interest to the group — not everything, of course, but you learn to edit down your requests by taking care of the things you’re responsible for, and then stepping up and asking for a hand when you need it, or you feel there’d be a net benefit resulting from it.  Ergo, we went home, stopped by Taco Bell, and filled up on cheap American interpretations of faux-Mex (it generally involves a lot of melted cheese).  And figgy, deprived of any other reasons (so many dogs!  so exciting!  so sunny!  so many crackers to eat!) to fight off the nap any longer, dropped off during the car ride — so deeply, in fact, that she failed to wake up when I extracted her from the car seat, something that reliably wakes her most times.

So I wonder what lessons politics have to offer here.  Given that both parties espouse the same policies (why yes, we can satisfy your special interest) while diverging on a few, truly minor wedge issues.  Big government ultimately has an interest only in perpetuating big government, so we end up over-regulated and stretched thin as interchangeable resource units.  I can’t quite make up my mind whether it’s better to speak up (for everything, then becoming the boy who cried wolf too often) or to advocate greater personal freedoms (trusting folks to do the right thing presupposes an idealistic belief in personal responsibility).

Mike