The Inner Landscape

At the Beach

There is a beach in town that allows dogs after 5 p.m. We took a ride over before supper tonight. Molly bounded toward the water, thrilled, because it has been at least a year since we visited there, and I’m not even sure we went last summer.

Judging by Sam’s puzzlement, it may well have been two years. He danced along the shore, sniffing at the gentle little waves coming to ground. We wished for the camera, doubting he’ll ever react quite that way again.

I enjoyed the expansive view of the bay and the islands not far off in the distance. The sun retreated from our Eastern location, while clouds of hues both white and grey decorated the late afternoon sky.

Meanwhile, assorted retrievers enjoyed themselves, bringing back sticks and balls over and over again. Molly worked the crowd, taking a seat next to various beach-sitters and giving them a look-see as potential new homes. In the end, no one had the treats in my pocket except me, so she came home with us.

When the time came, 20 years ago, to look for a place to live after The Father of My Children finished law school, I agreed to consider New England, but I preferred to be on the coast. My childhood included regular summer visits to the ocean, and although I am not a sun worshiper, I said, "I just like to know it’s there."

One of my most powerful experiences of God took place on a beach, and a dream set during a storm on a beach convinced me to return to seminary. My children’s experience of the beach has been on day trips, and as my life has become busier, fewer of those. I hope I can reverse that before it is too late. I well remember the feeling of sleeping with the ocean just a little way off over the dunes, the smell of the air and the sand between my toes.

Pure Luck grew up on the coast of Maine and now prefers the woods and lakes. When we go anywhere, we head in that direction. I don’t mind those places; they are certainly beautiful. But my life has been full of going where it suits other people. Maybe this summer I can make my own way to the place that feel so wide open and elemental, so positively divine.

16 thoughts on “At the Beach”

  1. Hi! After the beach I wrote on my blog! Now I have to clean the sand off the keyboard. Come see what I said about Jesus, okay?

  2. Tomorrow we head back to the beach, with more family coming and going. The beach provides the peacefulness and beauty in a way no other place can do.

  3. I know what you mean about the beach just being so wide open and elemental. There’s just such an energy to the vastness that is missing in the woods or at a lake. I could never live too far from the ocean, if only to be able to hear the waves crashing and watch the tides.

  4. I just like to know it’s there, too. After 33 years of living about as inland as it gets (one year in Berlin, Germany and 32 in Minnesota)I am thrilled to be back only a few miles from the ocean. Onkel Hankie Pants also prefers the woods and lakes, but that’s a nice thing about Maine. It’s even got a desert (snicker snicker).
    Oh, Molly. Rusty is too excited right now because while we were out and he was sequestered, the cat came upstairs. He is sniffing like mad and his brain just can’t think about Jesus right now. Maybe tomorrow.

  5. Yes, you must! (make your own way to that place this summer, and repeatedly). Thanks for sharing a glimpse with us poor landlocked folks. (the people here in Michigan try to compare the Great Lakes to oceans, and the beaches and the water are in fact beautiful. Still, I am not deceieved.)

  6. I grew up near the ocean and have always felt connected to it in a way that seems to call on some DNA-encoded memory of crawling up from the salt sea onto dry land. I never thought I could live inland, but here I am. I live across the street from a river, which helps, but I still miss the beach.

  7. You’re making me pine for our old house in “Stepford,” where I could hear the ocean through the open windows in the early morning.
    But here were are in scorchy waterless “Faux Town.” Someday I’ll get back.

  8. Further evidence, if evidence were needed, that we are two of a kind my friend…Having grown up right beside the sea, nothing is ever quite the same…it’s such a WASTE of weather, when the wind blows and there are no white horses to watch…
    Hope you get to be where you need to be this summer xx

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