This I Believe

Denise - Earlysville, Virginia
Entered on July 25, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

Life is better at the beach. I recently spent six sunny, sandy days on the North Carolina intercoastal waterway where my family and I renewed our senses with the sea. From my first breath of salt air to my final dusting of sand, my body and soul were drenched in natures’ gifts of the sea.

Each morning I took in the miracle of sunrise. That daily solitary ritual I protected by rising quietly with my coffee to the porch overlooking the narrow waterway at the back of the house. Green water flowed tirelessly past and each day, each year, I am mesmerized. Seagulls dipped in the water for breakfast, shrimp boats traveled past on their way out to sea, even a dolphin made a brief appearance as the day woke up. My rhythmic rocking lasted for as long as the coffee flowed and the house slept.

By noon, we were staked out at the beach, replete with various sundries to keep us there for several hours. Floating, jumping and surfing the waves cleansed our bodies of school and work and life’s various demands that may have crept unnoticed into our suitcases. Occasionally, the ocean breeze brought ashore a salty, sandy blanket, but I was not bothered. I reveled in the natural exfoliating session under the warmth of the sun.

Dinner each night brought us together again where we shared our accomplishments and finds of the day. A finished book for my daughter, another crab in the pot for my son, one single fish caught for my husband, another kayak trip for our dog and for me, that one perfect shell…always a shell.

While at the beach, my inner clock recalculated to tidal time and without fail, I felt the itch to go out at low tide. I cannot resist temptation to scour the surf in search of any shell worth picking up. They all are worthy of handling and the desire to let no shell go unturned stole from me all sense of time. It was difficult to abandon the shimmering sea gems that beckoned me, but alas, I did, knowing that tomorrow’s tide would bring a new crop of treasures.

Each day on the water renewed my sense of balance. To bring back home the soothing sensation of weightlessness, physically and mentally, would be a fantastic feat, but I know this is impossible and I must hold on to my memories until next year. Although we undoubtedly gained caloric pounds over the week, we simultaneously shed numerous emotional pounds. Those gains and losses defined my summer retreat. The peace I absorbed that week continues to visit me as I finger the various shells I brought home. Every room in my house has a bowl, basket or vase of seashells to remind me that life IS better at the beach, for this I believe.