Life Topics

A Day at the Beach

We lugged all the beach gear from the trunk of the car, moving away from the hot concrete parking lot toward the sandy shore, a brilliant horizon of blue with white.  Bright colored striped chairs, thirsty towels, and a comfortable blanket under arms, over shoulders and falling from our grips.  Willing our feet toward the edge of the ocean we looked for a blank spot to set up homebase.  Near the hungry wandering seagulls and children playing became our nirvana, enough room to spread out.  Unfolding our accessories and taking off our shoes was a good place to start, a little sandy real estate to call home for the remainder of the day.  The sun was leaning west in the late afternoon, but the warmth was strong and comforting.  We had to shift our chairs to face toward the skewed rays, which put us in a line, not optimal for conversation.

After setting up camp, we decided that a cool swim was in order.  One by one we meandered toward the shore, as the breaking waves brought in little pieces of deep green seaweed.  At first it was a shock to feel the cold-water wash over our feet and shins, moving rhythmically over our shivering legs.  The ocean made a lulling whoosh sound coupled with the background din of the gulls screaming. We noticed parents bobbing around with their children, lifeguards gazing at nothing, and overweight women squeezed into bakinis walking the beach.  Turning to the deeper water, we all bravely dove in, in an effort to acclimate to the water temperature.   One person jumped right in after the count of three.  The rest of us splashed water on our arms and thighs before taking the plunge.

We floated weightless over the continuous breaking waves feeling a kind of freedom from our bodies.  We laugh, played, and felt happy to be with each other.  The cold water we originally walked into turned into warm bath water the longer we stayed in.  A sandbar 200 feet from shore brought us back to chest high water as I felt safer with the velvety sand under foot.   I kept my head above water not wanting to wet my hair, while still being playful.  We threw seaweed at each other and talked about nonsense.  Everyone was enjoying this escape from the hot summer day.  No one wanted to get out of the water, hanging on until the next big wave.

We will have a lifetime of days at the beach, but this one was special.  Sitting in my sand chair after the swim I felt completely content.  Two laid on the beach blanket on their bellies trying to tan their backs; one reading and one sleeping.  Two behind me, eyes closed,  silently facing the western rays for the late summer exposure.  I spent a few moments sunning myself, then put on my sweatshirt covering my burnt shoulders as I turned my chair.  I people watched for a while, then lovingly looked at my family that surrounded me.  Every one of them means the world to me.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.   My quiet observation brought me to a place of solitude and peace.  We chose to be here with each other, and that was enough for me.


Life Topics

It’s 6 O’clock Somewhere

At 6 o’clock the summer sun filters everything around you, turning objects into versions of themselves that seem totally unreal.  Trees lining the water’s edge look like watercolors and the lake has soft ripples of tiny waves and muted colors with bright diamonds dancing on the surface.  It’s hard not to daydream as you wind down your day and become part of nature’s painting.  The angle of the sun brings shadows that appear to marry the landscape bringing depth and meaning to the story.  A simple and glorious prelude to a soft evening, as the lake prepares to sleep.

Unless you live on a lake, it’s hard to imagine the revelry of players that bring comfort to the soul.
The heron glides past you overhead to find a quiet cove, the ducks come in to play and walk along the shore, fish jump out of the water for a quick bug snack, and fisherman float by silently casting long lines of desire and hope. All this drama before you’ve had your morning coffee.  The early day has it’s own splendor that one should never take for granted.  I am especially fond of the graceful flight, yet homely look of the heron, as he descends into the shore where he’ll hunt his prey.  He is hungry and will wait patiently, awkwardly walking the shore for as long as it takes.  All these sights and sounds can be hypnotizing.

Like most people I am absent from my home during the day working and fulfilling commitments. I’m not home to see what mysteries the lake brings in the quiet activities of the warm afternoon unless it is on the weekend.  Truthfully, I don’t think about it much until I return to put my day to rest.  I wipe the slate clean, forgetting about things that don’t matter in the long run.  Arriving home, I pour a glass of wine and settle into my comfortable chair and just stare across the pristine lake anticipating something I haven’t seen.  My partner joins me as we talk about our day, half watching the lake and each other.  It approaches 6 o’clock when everything transforms.

Pontoon boats gently float by, maybe hungry boaters on their way in to have dinner.  Or, boats embark on a slow and deliberate sunset cruise after an early dinner.  The backdrop of the trees and beaming late day sunshine bring a magic to the lake.  Time seems so fluid set between late afternoon and early dusk. You can hardly notice it happening, but it’s there.  And it effects your inner clock.  There is a change from day to dusk.  A crescendo that draws a line between day and evening.  All stress is lifted.  All concerns are forgotten. You’re on lake time after all.  An invisible curtain is lowered to separate what might be routine, to what is exceptional .  All the harsh lines are softened.

We mount the boat after dinner, with a cooler and set out to watch the sun set.  We listen to music and laugh.  Oh, how he makes me laugh!   Hopefully, we’ll tie up with another boat or two to socialize, but we’re happy on our own too.  We look at the clouds bringing red and pink spheres across the sky, knowing tomorrow will also be beautiful. Red sky at night……We know we live in paradise.  There are a scattering of anchored boats around us capturing moments, taking pictures of the sunset.  It is always beautiful no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Our love for the lake goes beyond words.  We enjoy every part of it, especially when the lake prepares for night. The afternoon sky and night sky come together without contempt, knowing their place, knowing their time.  There is a shift to be admired as nature fulfills it’s promise.  It provides a place to jump off from, a place to start, and a place to end.   This body of water is now part of our DNA.  We couldn’t live anywhere else.  Being invited to witness her change, has changed us.  We are forever grateful for being part of a place that brings us joy every day.


Life Topics

Night Swim on Hickory Hills

dockLargeTake a swim in the night waters of the lake.
Feel the flow underneath you, as you
kick your legs and circle your arms.
Treading water makes you feel
like all the days worries are
pushed away with each motion.

Breathe deep, as you look up
to see the stars that watch over you.
Crickets sing a concert for your pleasure.
Slivers of moonlight dance on the waves.

Hear your laugh echo to the hidden shoreline,
The sound makes you laugh again, just to
hear your voice.  The boat is barely within
reach, but it doesn’t matter.

Talk treason with your friend as you
circle each other and feel the relief
from the thick air.
Submerge your whole body.
Wet your hair, wet your soul.

Howl at the moon calling on Mother Nature
to join in the fun.  She knows you are there
to be part of the universe.
She knows you are there.

Life Topics

Dark Waves

dockLargeWater anchors my dreams.
Memories bob upon rippled
whispers and the thirst of
the moonlight.  I can hear
my name.

Bullfrogs inspire cricket songs.
The lightning tells my story.
Soft rumbles from angels
above, warning the lake of
the coming downpour.

Dark waves lapping are
a burden to the shore.
Step into the warm water with
dew drenched feet and
wipe the tears you
do not have.

Let the striking rain tell you
secrets in your sleep.  Wishing
on stars is not a promise.
Hold onto the thread that
weaves shadows and light.