The Beach

Beach Week is here… it’s the one week a year we all look forward to. Joe took a week off work, I cleared my and the kids’ schedules, and we packed up the van for a road trip to South Padre Island, TX. Our original reservation was for Destin, FL, but we cancelled due to the oil leak that is affecting the shores in FL. It’s day 60 or something of the spill, and there’s no end in sight. At least it hasn’t reached the shores here yet. Our gulf view is of a wide expanse of blue water for as far as the eye can see, separated at the horizon splitting the hue into the lighter, more powdery blue of the sky. Brown pelicans and seagulls fly overhead, lucky birds who have yet to be drenced in black poison. For today and for this week, it seems they and we are in luck and can still enjoy the coastline.
I forgot how much my skin loves the sea. When we arrived, I was rashy and itchy, and now just two days into our stay, the salt water has soothed the spots and rough skin has sloughed off like my cares melted away when I rested in the afternoon sun. When I felt the sand between my toes, it was like reuniting with a long lost friend. As we approached the beach, I could feel a heavy sigh exhaling out of my lungs and my cares drifting lightly away in the seabreezes. The warmth of the sun stung my skin and soothed my soul. Time to relax….headed to a nice spot, put down our stuff, then jumped in the water like a kid again, bobbing in the waves, letting the water gently lift me up and push me down like a toy.
After some time, the peace was suddenly interrupted when I heard Joe calling me. “Susanne, come here! Hurry!” I saw him holding Thomas and Thomas was crying. Joe had that look on his face that he has when something is wrong and he doesn’t know what to do. I treaded through the water and it felt as heavy as mud, dragging with every step I took. I was trying to hurry, but I had to fight the current. Then I saw the blood coming out of Thomas’s nose and my heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach.
“What happened?” I said, with thoughts of broken bones and head injuries going through my mind. “Dear God please let him be ok” I thought to myself. Sure enough, he was crying, so I knew he could breathe and was conscious.
“He got crashed in a wave face first!” Joe answered, still several feet away.
We swiftly took him to the towels and chairs and sat him down to take a look. A few wipes with the beach towel, and thank goodness the bleeding stopped. I checked his eyes for signs of head injury. Nope they looked equal and reactive to light. He was answering my questions. When I looked into his nose, thank goodness, it was just coming from a cut, nothing more serious! I asked him where it hurt, and he pointed to his precious little nose and the skin between it and his baby lips. “Wight hewe” he said in between crying.
I gladly packed up my son and our stuff and retreated to the condo for some ice, AC, and some TLC from mommy. He was bruised and a little swollen, but mother nature spared our boy again, thank God. I guess we all have memories of being pounded like dirty laundry by the waves into the sand. You learn in an instant that mother nature is the boss and that while she may let you play on her shores, if you aren’t careful, in an instant you can be crushed just like the rocks its pounding forces have changed into sand.
Back in the water today, I had the feeling of release, of total surrender to the magnificent forces which are obviously much stronger than I could ever dream of. My favorite thing to do in the water is just float on my back and be carried by the waves. Close second is going out beyond where they are breaking and jumping up and down as they pass by. Just as I’m enjoying the ocean’s ride, Zoe asks if I want to play a game called jello. She explains all you have to do is jump up when a wave comes then go limp and float like jello, “Just let the wave take you wherever it wants to take you.” Hmmm I was just thinking that, small world! Funny how the 10 year old mind can perceive the power of the ocean and turn it into a cute game.
Being on vacation brings our family closer together. We play chess and scrabble, and we color pictures of what we see during the day. We eat meals together and laugh and play together. Nobody has a schedule, and there is no pressure on anyone other than to hurry up and get sunscreened so we can going out to the beach! My senses come alive with the salty water and air, the sounds of the birds and the waves, the feel of the sun’s warmth and the gritty sand and the cool, luxurious water, and the brilliant blue green of the sea juxtaposed against the burning hot sand. For just one week, we can forget about the stresses of every day life and enjoy ourselves in a beautiful place. Hopefully we can bring this feeling back to help us get through the next 52 weeks!

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