Friday I had a dentist appointment, so I arranged that I would not work (I had done four longer days instead of 5 regular days). I had my apointment, did a few errands, walked 2.5 miles, then after I got home, I totally crashed and needed a nap. My sister called and my daughter answered. "Beach?" she asked me.
For the past four years, it has been August before I got to the beach. Having grown up on Carson Beach, I had to pretend it was not summer just to survive this emotionally. The entire time I was in school, one weekend at the Cape was the extent of my relationship with the sea. Now I am done. I had a lot of plans for the weekend (had to work the Monday holiday)- cleaning the house, some computer work, organizing notes for my board exam. Split second decision: "Beach". Hawaii Girl seconded the motion.
We got up at 5:30 am and made a quick lunch. Out the door at 6:09 and off to Arlington to meet my sis and hub. There by 7:10; load the car/lunch/sleepy selves with coffee into her Avalon for the ride to Parker River wildllife refuge. The piping plover is currently nesting so only two lots are open: we chose the first (a first for me) and parked. Hauled out chairs, cooler, beach bags; hiked the boardwalk to the sea. Staked out turf. Eight am tide; 78 degrees & not a cloud in the sky. We walked a long way up the island as per our early morning ritual, then back to the beach chairs to read, chat, snooze as we so desired. The water was about 55 degrees so out futile attempts at swimming died with the lack of circulation above our ankles. The sun was hot and renewing; the breeze steady and cool. I found my first sea glass of the season within ten minutes of getting there: Kate found the first sand dollar.
The entire time my kids were young, we performed this ritual many times in the course of the summer. Some of our rituals have become memories: the annual huge sandcastle and the ritual burying of Ted in the sand replete with large clamshell-adorned gynecomastia. Now my kids are in their twenties and content to sit and read the sports page or just veg. Fine by me.
This was a perfect beach day- we did all our usual activities, people-watched (the guy in the thong was interesting in an icky way, as the college kids behind us observed) and read. Sometimes we chatted and sometimes we didn't. Sometimes I lay on the towel and sometimes I sat alone with my feet in a puddle of cool sea water. All in all, it was restful and renewing, and exactly what I needed. I did not get sunburnt or bitten by sandfleas or greenhead flies. I did get good color and my hair smelled salty. I did get a sliver in my foot which Sue removed. We did sit on Sue's beautiful Victorian porch with the great breeze and crackers and cheese. And when we got home we hosed the salt off, ate well and slept so deeply.
All of this is my criteria for a perfect beach day.