Messages in the Sand

Beth - Cocoa Beach, Florida
Entered on March 31, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: change, place

Messages in the Sand

I believe the Universe sends us important messages when we need them, but I haven’t always been open to receiving them.

My husband was transferred to Cocoa Beach, Florida four years ago. After thirty years in Washington, D.C., we jumped at the chance to live a quieter life at the beach. The signs were good, our house sold in three days and we had dreams of good things ahead.

Like the adrenaline rush that fuels new love, everything was great in the beginning. Yet, I wasn’t happy; a deep homesickness would wash over me at the oddest times. Watching 60 Minutes, it wasn’t the content of the exchange between President Obama and Steve Kroft that made me weepy (although it was certainly worth crying about), but the fleeting shot of a cherry blossom waiting to burst into bloom on the White House grounds. Cherry blossoms mean springtime in D.C. – and Cocoa Beach would never be D.C.

Like a stubborn addict, I couldn’t kick the D.C. habit. Although Florida Today, the Orlando Sentinel and The New York Times smack the driveway every morning, I would still steal away for my Washington Post fix in private, comfort just a click away, 24-7. I clung to my D.C. art and movie connections fearing a cultural drought on the flat, Florida horizon.

Long-term friends doused me with love and good wishes in the early days of the transition, but lately only a few stalwarts stay in touch. But rather than fully feeling

that sorrow, I reverted to habit and retreated to my head convincing myself that I was too sophisticated for a hick, beach town.

That was ridiculous. Of course there is culture here and especially gardens that delight. Artists are drawn to the gifts of the sea. Our neighbor sculpts Cocoa Beach native, Kelly Slater, a nine-time-world-champion surfer. Down the road, “I Dream of Jeannie Lane,” reminds us that we live in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center (with awesome launches), and that the community has a sense of humor.

The beach beckons from across the street with its ever-changing tableau of wonders. Recently, I walked down the beach reading messages tourists had scrawled in the sand, “Thank you sun”, “See you next year, Florida”, “I Love Cocoa Beach.”

I double back to re-read them. They are right. There is a lot to love here. Why don’t I feel it?

I face the ocean and the surf forces my feet deeper into the sand, grounding me in the present. In that moment, a feeling arises, which at first I want to push away. But then I surrender to it: I am lonely.

It feels good to breathe in the truth along with the salt air, and I trust that if I do my part and keep my heart open, the Universe will do its part and continue to guide me. In the meantime, it’s time to build new friendships – one sand castle at a time.