Tonight, as I stood in my sister's kitchen, chatting about this and that, a scent of wood burning came through the screen door, carried on a chilly damp wind. I closed my eyes and breathed it in deeply, my mind flooding with images of Fall, craving the sweetness of apple cider on my tongue and the warmth of worn jeans and an old sweat jacket on a cool crisp evening. I was keenly aware in that moment that Summer's days are numbered and, while I long for those blue and gold days and chilly nights scented with wood smoke, I need to revel in these last days of fun in the sun.
In a few days, I will be heading to my beloved seashore, to reconnect with my beach bum self. Days will be spent on the beach - lounging in my chair with a book, basking in the sun, my skin lathered with a #30 and stained with salt, my toes digging into cool wet sand, taking the hourly dip in the sacred waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The nights will be spent on the beach too - taking strolls under the stars by the crashing waves with my hubby, laughing, talking, or even just silently enjoying the walk together. Dawn may find me meditating on a beach towel on the sand while dusk may find me collecting seashells with my nieces. One evening I may stand by the water's edge listening to my son playing his guitar from his perch on a lifeguard stand, while on another I may walk to the jetty at the end of the island for a bit of exercise.
The shore is where I go to regenerate, to die a little death and be reborn for another year. I throw myself in the ocean, abandoning all I am to the surf, letting go of everything the past year has thrown at me, my cares, worries and fears floating away. The salt cleanses every bit of muck and mire from me, rejuvenating my heart and spirit, taking away the aches and pains of my aging body. Somewhere in my head a bit of a song echoes. "'Cause down the shore everything's all right..."
And it truly is all right! Sure, being with a large familial crowd, as I will be, may have its frustrations or moments of head-butting. But mainly there will be lots of laughter to the point of tears, story telling of past seashore days, card playing over frosty White Russians and Mudslides, gathering around the table for yummy meals and tasty snacks, missing those who are no longer there with us, and staying up late giggling with the kids, who mostly aren't really kids anymore but nearly adults themselves. Sad. I still can see them all as little ones, running all over the beach with buckets, shovels, boogie boards and sunburns. For a few, we are nearing their time to leave the nest. Who knows if this may be the last Summer with the family at the shore for one or two of them. All the more reason to savor every moment!
And then, before I know it, I'll be in the car, traveling over the bridge away from the island, in tears that another vacation is over and wondering when I'll be able to see the shore again. I'll get home, back to the regularly scheduled program of my life and daydream. What if I just sold our little house in the suburbs with the beautiful garden and moved us to the shore, forever? What if I could create a gorgeous abundant Village Wise Woman garden at a little house at the shore? What if the hubby and I waited another couple of years when our son is settled in college and made the big move? What would it be like to be able to walk on the beach every night, in every season? Aye, I could do that.
Then Autumn will be here in all of its rich earthy scents, bold beautiful color, cooler days and colder nights, and I will settle in to my life again with the seashore tucked away in my heart and on a "To Do In The Future" list in my head. I'll put my garden to sleep for the year, work a bit of prosperity magic under an October Full Moon, and keep making my way back to the shore, whether for another week come Summer or for the rest of my days.