We only spent three days in south Florida, but in that time frame we visited a beach at least seven times, I think.
There’s magic at the beach.
For some people, it’s the ocean.
For some, it’s the city.
For Tahd, it’s the mountains.
But for me, it’s the beach.
The feeling of warm layered on cool as I dig my feet into the sand, the way the shoreline water laps around my feet, gradually sinking me into the sea floor, the dull thwop of the waves as they beat against the ground, deafening me to the worries beyond the present moment…I need those things. I need the beach.
I healed on the beach after we lost Mara, and I needed to bring Isla back there. I needed to show her the waters and bask in the immensity of my gratitude.
I like to think she loved it!
Gabe loved it, too. He built a hundred different castles and hunted for shells and drew in the sand and chased Tahd.
Sometimes I wonder if he’ll love the beach as much as I do.
We collected these little shells until we realized they were actually moving and alive! Then we sent them back to the water’s edge for their own survival.
I don’t think he will. I might be wrong, but he seems like he’s going to be more of a library guy or a historical sites guy. Those are good, too.
When we went to Naples a few years ago, I hadn’t realized until we left that it had presented me with an opportunity to watch the sun set over the water. And I missed it! If the beach is magical, a sunset over the water doubles the enchantment. You only get to see that if your body of water is to your west, though…and for me, Lake Michigan is to my east. I’m sure there would be some lovely sunrises, but I’m decidedly a later-in-the-day sort of person. So I was determined to see a sunset when we returned to Florida.
Florida delivered for me.
Sunday’s weather teased us with ominous clouds and a forecast of impending rain, so although we saw the sun start to set, we didn’t get to see as much as I wanted.
On Monday we were having family photos taken during the evening and I figured we wouldn’t be done in time. I was practically giddy when, at the end of our photo session, I looked at the clock and realized it was only a few minutes past 8:00. Sunset wasn’t until 8:18.
We raced to the beach and I hopped barefoot out of the car. I clamored toward the boardwalk, camera at the ready, but as I crested the peak every frantic and hurried thing within me changed. A still, holy hush covered the beach, and the reverence of the day’s farewell took my breath away.
I haven’t see the face of God, but I imagine the light from the glory of his face kissing the peaks of the waves goodnight, and the world felt like a very good, very free place.
You must go – you must go to your own place at which the holy transcends the mundane and you feel small and speechlessly grateful to simply exist. Wherever that place is for you, you must go.
More to come from the beach!