To remain as clay, to be shaped and moved
Unfinished but evolving
soft and pliable.
Not the same as yesterday
Not what will be tomorrow
Ever present to what is now
Unfolding and grounded
Unwilling to turn to stone.
Open to possibilities, to new beginnings
To be clay.
– Kathie Pugaczewski
Sixty-seven days ago Ted and I moved into our new home in Beverly Beach. Today – for the first time – I slung a beach chair over my shoulder, crossed A1A, pushed the chair firmly into the sand, and lowered myself down into it. The only sounds were the waves rushing onto and away from the shore, the call of seagulls, and the occasional Coast Guard helicopter. Looking north, then south, I could make out the forms of other people on the sand, but they were so far away they might just as well not have been there.
Over the other shoulder I’d hung a beach bag (bright yellow with imprinted white dots in varying sizes) filled with a book, a high liter pen, my camera and my iPhone (both safely zipped into a waterproof bag), and a beach towel (mostly to cover my legs if I got chilly). I settled down, pulled out my book, slid my “reader” sunglasses off my head and onto my nose, and breathed out a big sigh of contentment as I opened the book.
By page three I was already fidgeting. Did my cellphone ring? Why didn’t I bring a bottle of water? I wonder if I could get some good pictures in this light? I pulled my camera out of my bag and started down the beach.
After twenty minutes I wandered back to my beach chair and once again sat down. Putting my head back and closing my eyes, I let the roar of the ocean take over. My first random thought was this: When did I forget how to be still? After months of frenetic activity, it seems I’m going to have to practice sitting quietly and just being.
I began to think back to my twenties and thirties, when the idea of owning a house by the sea was just an unbelievable – and unachievable – dream. Never in my wildest imaginings did I believe back then it would ever happen. Vacations by the ocean – yes. Living by the ocean – impossible.
And yet – here I am. Between those years and now a lot of living occurred, and during those years I discovered a place like none I had ever imagined. Mackinac Island became my heart’s home. It always will be.
But here – now – the old dream of beach living is slowly becoming a reality in my mind. What I have to do is embrace it. I have to let the clean ocean air seep into my very soul. I have to be quiet and listen to the cries of the sea birds overhead. I have to feel with my heart the thunder of the waves against the sand and the rush and swirl as it returns out to sea. The sea is nature at its purest – tides controlled by the moon, water creatures whose intelligence we are only just now beginning to fathom, mysteries of the deep to explore that are as old as time.
A house by the sea. What will it teach me? What lessons are left to learn? What gifts will the sand and water offer up?
A house by the sea. Amazing.