I have made it known in the past that I don’t like the beach.
Specifically, I don’t like sand, hot weather, or the blaring sun. I don’t swim in the ocean (or go in it past my knees) and I don’t even really swim in pools. I am a temperate, sensible ~70 degree type girl. I like having seasons. I like trees that change color.
My family and I just took a trip to Myrtle Beach, our first real vacation in two years due to the pandemic. We, despite all being fully vaccinated, were appropriately masked in public, although I can’t say the same for many other folks…
I walked the beach in the mornings, before the sandcastle builders, sun-tanners, and wave-chasers appeared, and before the sun got too hot. Even went barefoot in the sand. There was usually a nice breeze. Pleasant people. One morning I brought my Starbucks because even in South Carolina (the state of my youth, fun fact) I am nothing if not a basic bitch.
In the evenings, I would walk the beach around sundown. Most folks had already departed by that time, and the heat of the day had waned, and the water felt good on my feet. My mom usually came along to hunt shells, and my dad would try and skip flat shells across the water. A couple of times, I even brought a drink along, of the adult variety, since pretty much the only time I consume alcohol is when I am on vacation.
It was so peaceful. Calming. Tranquil. And as someone on the cusp of thirty, whose life is in a semi-state of flux, whose mind is so often in a tumult, I appreciated those morning and evening walks more during this trip than ever before. I treasured them. It was my favorite part of the trip, aside from quality time with my family.
I have felt the pull of many tides, lately. The rough, crashing tides of the evening, creeping further up the shore, creating pools in the sand and washing away footsteps of the past. The morning pull, not as wild but equally insistent, preparing the shore for a new day and carrying the promise of something fresh. The gentle lull of midday. And yet, even experiencing both over the last week, I have not felt torn. I even felt a little bit of clarity.
It was difficult to say goodbye to the beach, this time. I even felt a little emotional during my last morning walk on Saturday. But though I am home now, I will keep that feeling with me.
The feeling of going with the tides, without allowing myself to be lost at sea.