Finding Your Special Place
You fall asleep in a different bed, and you wake to the sound of the ocean. It sounds like heaven, huh? But heaven doesn’t have to be when you die, heaven can be anywhere, or anytime. Anywhere that you feel, free alive and reborn. Peaceful and ready to take on the world.
I’ve learned that sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery, to find that peace and happiness buried inside of you, no matter how far away it may seem. A little change of routine and something a little, or a lot different, and that could be all you need. When you find that special place, you will know. You just can’t help feeling happy, any no matter how bad your life may seem, you always see the light. This I learned two years ago when I visited a little island of the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks. And still, every time I return there I feel the sadness and worry leave me as soon a can smell the ocean and see the cloudless sky. I can’t help smiling. So now you can sit down and listen to my story, about my little piece of heaven.
Even tough this happened Two years ago, it feels like yesterday when I remember it. As we are driving over the bridge connecting the Outer Banks to America, I feel so happy. This is my place, and nobody can take away my smile! We drive down the streets to our house and I stick my head out of the window and smell the salt of the ocean, mixed with laughter, and freshly steamed seafood. We pull into the driveway and see our cousins standing on the upper porch waiting for us. I run out of the car and hug them all, and my face hurts so much from smiling. After a dinner at Dirty Dicks crab house, a rare occasion because my family never eats out, I fell full and changed. My inner turmoil from chores, friends, teenage drama and just life is vanishing from inside me.
We drive back to our house, the car full of laughing people. We all put on sweatshirts and walk together down the street, to the boardwalk down onto the sandy and deserted beach, with the gentle waves lapping up against our toes. My cousin Anna, who is my same age, and I take off our flip flops and run into the shallow water laughing and splashing each other. My brothers Eric and Alex and my other cousin Brian run after each other throwing wet sand at their backs. My parents and Aunt Julie and Uncle Dan are standing together laughing. After a while we stand together and watch the sunset. The bright colors of vibrant red, orange and gold reflect on the slightly rippled surface of the ocean. From here you can see the edge of the world, and the sun as it sets over the curve of the horizon.
The next morning I wake up early when the sun is just peaking over the still morning water. I walk out to the deck and watch the sunrise. It is even more beautiful than the sunset. Everything is quiet except for the soft sea breeze, and the sound of the birds calling good morning to each other. It’s just you, looking out over the world. Standing tall, with nobody to bring you down.
After the sunrise I join Anna and Aunt Julie inside for an early breakfast, then a morning walk on the beach. The beach is empty except for the early morning fishermen, looking for the fish basking in the early morning sun. Anna and I let the water slap up over our flip flops and our legs, soaking the bottom of or shorts. We are careful not to step on the moon jellies (small harmless jellyfish), who are lying on the beach basking in the sun, waiting for the water to take them under again.
When we return home everybody else rising. My Mom, Dad and Uncle Dan sit on the deck drinking coffee and talking. They all look so happy together. Anna and I hurriedly change into our swimsuits and jump into the pool. The warm chlorinated water wakes me up, and cleans off the sand and seawater from my toes and legs. After a few laps of the pool I walk out and go and sit in the hot tub. I can feel the hot foaming water seeping into my skin. I smile; I never had a hot tub of my own to relax in. I sigh to myself, this is the life, I don’t have to worry about anything, or anybody.
After my morning serenity I help my mom and Anna pack up lunch to take to the beach. We have sandwiches, ice pops, fruit and chips plus lots of water! Once we are all ready we gather our boogie boards, towels, sunscreen, food and other beach going items and head to the boardwalk down the street that will lead to the private beach that we share with some other families (but it’s not as crowded as the public beach!). We run down the long boardwalk which rests on top of the sand dunes, trying to be first to spot the ocean. The sand is white hot and burns my toes where it slips over my flip flops. Brian and Eric find the perfect spot, to set up our umbrellas. After lying out the towels and setting up the five umbrellas, we finally get into the water. I feel in another world as the sounds of laughter and fun mingle with the slapping of the ocean waves crashing one by one onto the sandy shore. Brian and Alex jump into the waves and are swept off of their feet. They stand again laughing completely covered in sand. Anna and I walk slowly into the water trying to avoid getting sucked under by the strong undertow of the retreating waves. We finally begin to ride the rolling waves to shore. I had never done anything quite like this before, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much I had been missing. Wave after wave, ride after ride, I fought and rode the strong ocean again and again. I didn’t fall off my boogie board once. I didn’t stop until I was called for lunch. I did not realize how hungry I was, or how good a simple sandwich could taste on a beach.
After lunch I went go for a walk with Anna along the beach. We both notice the copious amount of moon jellies lying around. I quickly run back and grab a bucket so Anna and I can collect them. We have fun picking up the little blobs, which feel like slightly hardened blobs of jelly. We bring the bucket back to the umbrellas and show Eric, Brian and Alex the jellies. Brian put his hand in the bucket pulled out a jelly and started throwing them at us! The war was on! Eric put a jelly down the back of my shirt and I put one in his hair. We were all laughing to hard so we stopped. I had never felt so happy before. I mean, what was there to be sad about? Right then, my life seemed perfect.
We get home late that afternoon. Eric, Alex, Anna, Brian, and I race to be the first ones to jump into the pool. Brian wins, narrowly. The rest of us all jump in together and made one huge splash, and drench the adults who had finally arrived. The boys get out right after jumping in and went straight for the hot tub. Anna and I swim around for a bit, letting the warm water wash the sand and salt off of our bodies.
For dinner we order pizza and hot wings, and we eat together out by the pool yard. After an evening of laughter and good spirits, I walked out to the deck to watch the sunset. It was just as beautiful as the night before.
Later though, after everybody had retired to their bedrooms, I snuck out to the deck again. The cool night breeze rushed across my face, and I looked out at the ocean. Standing there, under the brightly shining stars, where in the distance I could see the shadowy outlines of dolphins jump into the ocean, I knew. I knew how much I had let go. And how this change of place, felt like a different world to me.
Next time you go somewhere different, take a minute to notice yourself. Have you changed? When you are there you will feel it inside of you. You will be able to look out and stand tall, and nobody can take you down.
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