so we trudged through our week with temps over 100, the air so think in the morning that one of my friends posted on FB that it felt like living inside a cantaloupe. she was right on. the air, which smelled like smoke last week because of coastal fires and a wind shifting inland, smelled a little sweet now but can you imagine having your nose stuffed up against one of those cantaloupeon walls with no knife to cut yourself out? each morning we met at the end of the driveway and by the end of our 40-minute dog walk we truly felt like those cantaloupe seeds were stuck to our skin and we had no air.
but today i woke to 65 degrees. 65! and a breeze outside that felt like fall might indeed not have forgotten the way here when we're ready for it. but right now it's still summer, and we just want to be able to be outside. tomorrow, as some song says, that's just where i'll be.
the brownies are just out of the oven, and my dining room floor is covered with grocery bags filled everything my family will need for a week looking out over the crisp blue atlantic. towels and sunscreen, Fritos and Butterfly crackers, body wash for the outdoor shower and my husband's favorite black seal rum.
and these. i grew them myself, all of them, plopped that plant in just the right spot and now here they are, ready to go with me to my favorite spot on the planet. by sunday i hope they find themselves in a pie or a blt or something like that. (the green one fell of the vine and even if he was a different color, it just didn't want to be alone.) he gets to ride along, and maybe he'll catch a few rays on the porch while we are there and be just right with a little goat cheese and some bacon and basilon the side.
we are celebrating, not just our annual vacay but the birthday of that book i wrote about this beach and blogged about a few posts ago. now that i am a paid writing hack, i have to be reminded sometimes that the dream i had since i was six actually came true 10 years ago this week. wow. and all because i have loved it here since my earliest memory.
but we are also celebrating family.
my daughter, cute in her bikini, will play her beach music, take in too much sun and shag in the kitchen with her dad (and me)... her husband will likely make the shrimp scampi (that is too spicy for me, but still — he's the only family member that actually lets me sit while he prepares) — and my son will fish and eat my marinated shrimp and have his beer and wax wryly about the people who walk across our path in front of the cottage and those who cross his path every day at work... and maybe by thursday, our boatless skipper will relax, finally. though he will miss the dog.
my father will sit on the deck and look at the ocean he's known since he was a child and think about things he won't share, and my mother will bring her caramel cake, along with a story, to share with us all.
i will read and wear my hat and get sunburned and maybe write a little and i will watch it all. w-a-t-c-h...breathe in the movement of my family, as changing as the ocean these days.
i first knew the atlantic when i was one, when we stayed in a cottage named the Coolamee in a second story room that stretched from streetside to beach. i remember feeling rocked by that ocean as the breezes blew through the windows, and how after a day on the beach, my sister and i would get our baths, then clean and warm in our clothes we would go back out and look for shells. i remember a pot full of crabs on the stove, my father using his pocket knife to clean the croakers on the porch and in my memory there was not a minute that i was bored.
and though i don't often swim the ocean anymore except to cool off on a hot day (the reason why is a story for another day) just listening to it and watching it fuels my soul. i have seen it calm as a kitten and as angry an an arching, growling bob cat... i can't explain it, but the rushing and the roaring and the calm gathering at the shoreline as all those angry waves almost hug each other somehow make sense to me. and i miss its absence in my life. but it'll be there tomorrow when i get there, changing, but forever the same.