Sometimes the simple moments that fill a life with joy require fewer words than others. A photo or two can do the trick. Take a peek below into my past couple of days as I savor the tail end of summer vacation by the shore…and enjoy.
An early-morning walk by the sea, where only the fishermen, a couple of boats, and a gigantic sky keep me company.
With sandy flip flops and salt in my hair, I meander back through sidewalks of flowers and cozy cottages.
Stop at a farmers market and breathe in even more deep, fresh scents and colors…a revel for the senses.
Such pockets of beauty and wonder everywhere. All ours for the taking.
Suddenly it feels a bit cooler as throngs of sleepy beachgoers trudge back to cars or cottages, their carts overflowing with umbrellas and chairs, sand pails brimming with shells. The hot, vast sky turns periwinkle-pink and the sun begins her do-si-do with the moon, who just keeps on pulling tides and making waves, pulling, making. And though I am quite sleepy myself, I feel her pull me too; bedtime will have to wait.
I adore Kevin Bacon. He could act out the phone book and I would watch with glee. Give him the Oscar, the Golden Globe, an Emmy, some sort of Golden Ticket immediately.
So…imagine my squeal of delight as I spotted his band’s name on the boardwalk marquee this morning after a blissful walk on the beach. Then, wait, is that … holy cow! It’s his tour bus pulling up right underneath our condo’s balcony. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I jumped out of my chair to run inside and put on a nicer tank top and shorts (dress is veeery casual at our vacation getaway here) and then returned to hang over the balcony with my iPhone camera poised in position. My sister scolded me for staring, opting to play it cool, but every ounce of cool I may have possessed flew off the railing with the seagulls.
Well, we missed him at that juncture, the bus departed, and Emily and I carried on with our vacation Monday, until…the bus returned! Now, in an unexpected turn of events, Sister contracted Kevin Bacon Fever and tore off up to the Music Pier to wait for a sighting. I could barely catch up with her in my flip flop feet, frizzy hair, and, uh, no brassiere (in my haste to follow her I forgot to put it back on!). I’m lucky nothing flew out of my old, saggy tank top as I ran after her. So now there we are, standing outside the stage door as the brothers finished playing their set (which sounded amazing, by the way), two goobers giggling like schoolgirls up to no good.
We waited. We waited. They played a couple of encores. We waited some more. We got to talking and laughing with two other ladies waiting for our star to appear. Emily marched toward the concert hall to try to peek through the doors, only to be chased down and yelled at by the “security guard” (who looked younger than some of my sophomores). We waited. I took a photo of the exit door to make sure my phone’s camera was focusing. Emily got to talking with another one of the staff….Wait, what? <insert sound of screeching brakes> He’s already left the building? <insert a loud, distorted, slow motion Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo>
And so, my friends, it turns out that good things do come to those who wait, just not necessarily the things that were expected. Kevin Bacon was whisked away to safety out of another door and is already sleeping soundly, relieved to have evaded the two googly-eyed female stalkers spotted lurking by the Exit. And two sisters are still laughing themselves silly over their night filled with shenanigans by a starlit summer sea.
I have a confession to make. I am not a fan of Sundays. (Were you expecting a juicier, saucier admission?) During the school year, I awaken on a Sunday morning and immediately think of the million and one things I want to squeeze into the day ahead before heading back to work on Monday, things I probably should have already gotten to during the workweek or at least part of Saturday–you know, three loads of laundry, a Crock-Pot of chili, a full week of celery chopped, pile of bills, at least one power walk, vacuuming, five classes worth of essays to grade, finish writing a book of poems, iron my shirts, read the Times front to back, watch every single football game being televised, go to a football game, watch Masterpiece Mystery, write a novel, read a novel … well, you get the idea. Never enough time. And poor, innocent Sunday seems to rub that in my face, though I know she means no harm.
Now, part of me is being hyperbolic, of course. I am a teacher. I enjoy freedom-filled Sundays all summer long. I load my time with what I want, when I want it. I have sacrificed a lot of material and financial comforts to follow my dream of teaching, but I reap every single reward this special vocation offers. I am grateful that I have always inherently enjoyed simple pleasures and that I know how to live comfortably and within my means. And I have also lived enough and seen enough to know that all of the blessings in my life make me wealthier than any man or woman on the Forbes list.
But I digress…back to Sundays. This Sunday. Today. Simply spectacular! My sister and I are together again for a week of shenanigans on our annual summer vacation at the Jersey Shore. We have vacationed here since we were tiny girls, playing Charlie’s Angels with cap guns, smashing around in bumper cars, licking ice cream cones, and sharing stories of what we were going to be when we grew up. We return because this place connects us. Its roots grow deep.
Anyway, nothing earth-shattering, just simple and restful, like Sundays are meant to be, I suppose. Soul-filling. I sketched. She sipped a special coffee. We laughed and chatted, people-watching from our balcony a few yards from the boardwalk. She napped. I plunged into the most beautiful coffee table book entitled The Sea and daydreamed of manning a lighthouse in the middle of the Irish Sea or re-cruising the Alaskan fjords. We savored a delicious caprese salad (including cucumber slices and garlic stuffed olives) composed with the freshest of ingredients from my visit to my friends’ garden the other day. She bought two original paintings at the art show on the boardwalk. I ballooned with joy as she excitedly recounted her conversation with the artist. And we ended the day in the best way possible, perhaps the only way, when you’re down here on vacation…a twirl of soft serve ice cream. Dipped in rainbow sprinkles, of course.
Sunday, I may just be discovering your wonderfulness after all.
Henry David Thoreau said that an early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. As always, he was right. My eyes popped open around 6:30 this morning (oh, the luxury of summers off without an alarm clock chirping before 6), and so I decided to take a walk before another hot, humid day trapped me inside by the air conditioner. Today’s jaunt wasn’t about lowering my cholesterol or trimming my waistline, though I did pick up the pace a few times; no, I just meandered through the sidewalks of one of the nearby seashore towns, up to the boardwalk, and down to the ocean, where I promptly took off my flip flops and plunked my toes in the sea. Icy! Wonderful!
Take a look at the flowers and seaside houses I spotted along the way….
The perfect way to begin this Friday. So how better to end it than with one firecracker of a storm. You know the kind. Big jagged streaks of lightning in the sky, loud claps of thunder that send a cat scurrying under the bed (well, Mimi did anyway), and torrential rains that wash the street clean and leave deep soppy puddles in the grass. One of summer’s best bits. I’m sure Thoreau would agree. Don’t you?