Go to the edge of the water close eyes and let my feet sink in. I step away and watch them wash away….imagine my footsteps travel off to the Atlantic…maybe to Australian shores…I admit, a small laugh escapes me, silly…a part of you traveling so far. I wonder what colors can be seen in the tidal pools left behind reflecting off the morning sun. At night he would burn copper in the fire to watch it burn different colors like green and blue, just like his grandpa would. Then I’d follow the crabs that come out at night. Looking like a fool chasing after them. I’d wait till midnight to set up my gear for the star photos, it takes discipline. Wait….wait ….. wait on that shutter. Pitch of night, on a moonless night, waves are deceiving. The oil rig lights disappear completely as the waves swell and you know a storm is coming. The sun not dare peek through the dark clouds so you just run in the rain barefoot in the waves. That’s one of the happiest moments of my life, enjoy the rain.
Starfish are just stars that fell from the sky, washing up ashore like presents from the sea left behind after the tide.
I want my ashes spread there into a sandcastle then taken away in high tide. That is my wish when my family feels ready, I think marker 248.
Back to nature, where we are all meant to go. I always cry when I see the ocean. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in forever, the comfort you get when coming home to childhood memories. That’s the ocean for me, not a pretty site, nor a tourist trap or a place for a great tan. It’s home. It’s every smile, every happy memory, every peace known to me, every wonder, curiosity, warmth and reminds me I’m just a small part in a much bigger plan. Knowing that, lightens my burden, my heart, my drive for perfection.
It was cool but slightly humid that day so I took my windbreaker off. I ran past the marker where the park ends and the seashore starts which the best shells were there. They were bigger than my palm. I had to use my shirtdress to carry all the shells as I walked backed. I stopped, faced the ocean, my feet feeling the cool waves, I closed my eyes, looked up, stuck my tongue out feeling the warm rain drops hit my face. Water hitting me from every direction, rain water mixed with the saltwater spray. I was drenched and never happiest in my life …. ever. Pure innocent happiness nothing but nature needed. I stood there for i don’t know how long because the waves got bigger and the sky got darker. The spring rain became a storm while I was wandering from one beach treasure to the next.
I collected a lost starfish and named her Kristy. Holding her up in the palm of my hand like a toddler to show him, his fingertips wiping away the strands of hair clinging to my forehead. Such awe and wonder as I delicately touched Kristy, I had never seen one come from the ocean. Like a child I didn’t want to leave my water wonderland but my husband guided me back slowly. If left to my own, I wouldn’t have had the self control to return to the reality of dry land. Out there, where the sky and sea become one, there is no sense of time. A shock to the senses that others existed in my own personal little beach when a park ranger came by on his ATV, 5PM warning of a hurricane coming. So I skipped, and hopped, and twirled….back to the truck with my treasures in my shirtdress like an apron.
As the truck grew in sight the more I dragged, not wanting to part with my watery wonderland. As if the sea was as unhappy to part from me as I from it the crashing waves blended into the dark grey clouds.
The water churned almost taking the truck with it but we left right on time. Parked near the ranger station for the duration of the storm, grabbed wataburger and watched the hurricane come in watching the buoys disappear into the angry sea. I photographed the droplets of water the patterns it made hitting my window. I watched people running from the rain as if it was acid. Some packed up and left their vacation. It just added more fun and experience to my vacation. The minute the hurricane moved up the coast we went as far as we could by truck then foot to see what wonders washed up. A collection over 75 shells bigger than my hand and sand dollars but Kristy broke so I put her back into the tidal pool back to nature.
Any chance I get, I return to my water wonderland, even to the exact location, similar weather. Memories come and go, some fade with time, some disappear with age. I still clearly remember the smell of the fresh rain mixed with the musky salt air, a hint of the yellow flowers that grow in the dunes, like some expensive unisex scent. The skies were a mixed color of pink and orange with a dark overcast, cotton candy clouds hiding the mischievous storm on the horizon. My hair whipping across my flushed cheeks, my shirt clinging wet, rain running down my face as if they were tears, my legs wet from the rushing waves. I was a complete sand covered mess and never felt happier.
So sure I’ve gone back and I’ve gotten pretty close but not quite the same, and that’s ok. There will never be a day that can ever compare to the purest day of my life. That’s what makes it so special, it’s wonderful rarity. I think everything just aligned that day, because nothing was planned that day….fate stepped in and gave me a gift. That memory has sustained me through many difficult times, at my worst that memory is at its best. It creeps into my mind out of no where, vivid as ever, as if I can reach out and feel a raindrop hit my hand. I may not remember where I put my favorite scissors yesterday or my own phone number but that memory from my early twenties will be my lasting memory. Engraved in my soul, the happiest day of my life, and it didn’t cost a dime…just a walk down the beach in the rain collecting shells with my husband.