Beaches, shells, and gulls
Blue Skies, and coconut rum…
(Weight and Stress…synonymous)
Beaches, shells, and gulls
Blue Skies, and coconut rum…
(Weight and Stress…synonymous)
Last week, Corinne, my wife, and I were walking on the beach. There was little chatter, both introverts, we are more than comfortable in our silence.
The day was gorgeous. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and speckled with creamy puffs of whip-cream, creatively changing shapes above our heads. The water’s ebb and flow teased our feet, and the air smelt salty, crisp, and clean.
Glancing at my feet, I noticed a perfectly rounded shell, and my first thought was, “Gosh, that would be a perfect home for a hermit crab!”
That one thought took me back some 17 years ago…and not to a happy place, but to a place of anguish within my heart. Who knew I still carried such intense emotion on my sleeve…and that it could be just as raw as the first day I experienced it.
Seventeen years ago I divorced my husband of eighteen years. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. It went against everything I had been raised to believe…it went against the faith that I had clung to all of my life, but I was gay, and I could live the lie no more. At the age of 36 I told my husband, a good man, the truth I had known from a child.
We had two beautiful children, that we loved with all of our hearts. The time came when I had to tell them I was moving out. That moment is by far, the hardest moment of my entire life. Their brokenhearted cries haunt me still. Sometimes it is so strong that I can do nothing but breakdown and weep.
Now, you may be wondering how the perfect hermit crab, habitat…the shell…could awaken such painful memories. Here’s why…
It had been several months since I had moved. My husband and I had agreed to joint custody. The week would be divided between us. We loved our children so much that we agreed to not “bad-mouth” each other in their presence. Our common goal was to make this transition as easy as possible. So, even though there was much anger and hurt between us, we chose to support each other for their sake. Every three to four days they would stay with me, and the other three to four days with their dad.
On this particular day, they were coming to stay with me after a trip to the beach with their dad. The door burst open and my son came inside with an expression of excitement and a handful of shells.
“Mama, look! I found these for my hermit crab,” I heard him say.
Now, if you know anything about hermit crabs, you’d know that as they mature they outgrow their shells, so, it’s very important to have bigger shells close by for such an occasion.
I looked at the beautiful shells he held in his little hands, and I wanted to cry. His hermit crab had died while he was away. Once again I had to tell him something that was going to hurt, and as I did I watched his face fall from happiness to helplessness. Witnessing this transformation my heart ached , and I hated myself because I couldn’t protect and shield him from the pain I saw in his eyes.
Seventeen years later, I stood barefoot on the beach, my heart breaking at the sight of the perfect shell.
It will always be there…sitting upon my sleeve…and I deserve it.
I captured this sunset photo 6 months ago while visiting my sister at Oak Island, NC.
Maybe I’m cheating a bit, as the photo challenge calls for a depiction of something “awakening.” Then I thought…well…night has a beginning, just as day! So, I like to call this one, “Dawn of Night.”
Is it just me, or does everyone have a “go-to-swear-word?” You know, the word that spews out so easily, during the stubbing of a toe or a barefoot walk over scattered Lego’s. Yeah…that word…
Even when I only “Christian-cussed,” I had my go to word. It was: “Sweet Hallelujahs!” AND believe me, it never came out reverently…
Unfortunately, my go-to word has morphed into something a little more colorful. I’m too ashamed to write it out but lets just say, it begins with a “f” and ends with “k,” and that’s all I’ll say about it.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with a road trip to Maine?” You’ll see…
Let me start from the beginning. On the night of day 3, I set the alarm on my phone for early-o-clock. My intentions were to meet a friend for morning coffee. Sure enough the alarm sounded, and like a good girl, I didn’t hit the snooze, but got up, showered and readied myself for the day.
I didn’t want to keep my friend waiting.
In the car, I hurriedly set the GPS, (I’ve named it “little-critter”) headed out the parking lot, and was on my way with time to spare. Feeling proud of myself, I steered “O Silver” (my car…and yes, I do name everything) through the toll gate, and together we began to eat up the miles, between myself, and my friend. Like a good driver, my eyes scanned the road ahead, the rear-view mirror, the speed odometer and back to the road ahead.
During one such inspection, my eyes settled on little-critter, and I noticed its roadway was blinking a bright red and yellow. Immediately,my personal swear word, released its venom on the no- good-lying-little-critter, and then spread her poison over the individual who invented the no-good-lying piece of you-know-what.
In the midst of the colorful language, a green roadside came into view and it read Kennebunkport, Maine. Oops. I realized had gone in the wrong direction.
I apologized to little-critter and its maker, and took the next exit, five miles down the road, where I turned around and headed back the toll booth, to pay a second time.
I met my friend, Diamond, whom I hadn’t seen for almost two years. It was so good to get her hug and share a warm cup of Starbucks’s coffee, of which she paid. (Thank you Diamond!)
Don’t you just love her name? I do! It fits her perfectly, and by that, I don’t mean she’s a diamond in the rough, but a Diamond perfectly polished, beautiful inside and out.
Next, I met another friend, Claudette, at the I-hop for a stack of pumpkin spice pan-cakes. I love the way sitting down at a table to share a meal brings peace in comradery. Jesus sets the example, by breaking bread and offering wine to his disciples at the Last Supper.
Claudette has many attributes that I admire, but what I admire most, is the depth of her spirituality and the depth of her love for nature and animals. I think she and I are kindred spirits in both aspects. She loves her dogs as much I love mine…after all, they are our babies.
After buying a new tire at Sears, I took a long scenic drive on highway 1-A. If you’re ever up that way, its a drive I highly recommend. It parallels the ocean, hugging the rocky coastline of both New Hampshire and Maine. It truly is breath taking.
All in all, day 4, was a good day, in spite of its rocky beginning. Spending time with my friends was a true blessing from God.
Later that evening, he blessed me once again, by painting a beautiful sunset for my eyes to enjoy, as I walked along the sands of Wells beach.
(to be continued…)
(lest you think I have a potty mouth…I do confess to embellishing the truth…but only a little)
Day two began with a knock at the door.
(Hmm… sounds like the beginning of a good mystery novel.)
Of course I was still asleep; after all, number 1-it was only 9:30 am, number 2-I was “on vacation” and lastly, number-3, I’d stayed up late the previous night. I ask you, “Who in their right mind, wouldn’t be sleeping?”
Disoriented, I staggered to the door and managed to grunt, “Yes?” The merry voice on the other side said, “Housekeeping!”
“Housekeeping…?” I thought…”Who the hell comes to your door that early to clean your room..?”
Trying to be considerate, I decided to not open the door. I had yet looked in the mirror, but my gut instinct told me that I must look a fright. You see, there’s this weirdo thing that goes on with my hair. In the mornings I always look like woody-woodpecker…believe me, it’s not very romantic. I’m serious. Both sides, the right and left, sweep upward to crash in the middle, and you all know I’m a redhead, so my ole pal, Woody, greets me every morning.
Hmmm…maybe I should rephrase that…what I mean to say is, “Every morning when I look in the mirror, the cartoon character is staring at me, mocking me with his rediculous little laugh” So, for that reason, I declined the merry housekeeper’s offer through a closed and dead-bolted door.
Sometime later, after I showered and washed my hair with Zest soap, ( no complimentary shampoo could be found) I sat out the porch, just outside my door, sipping on a cup of Folgers instant coffee and eating a bowl of Jasmine rice. I watched the world as it was bathed by a gentle rain. I could smell the ocean, even though it was over a mile away, and it seemed I could hear the gulls calling my name. I was anxious to see what I hadn’t seen, since I moved from New England, over a year ago.
Wells Beach didn’t disappoint! The sea was angry, under clouds of gray, while the squawking gulls busied themselves scavenging for breakfast. There were a few others, like myself, walking the sands or sitting on wooden benches , soaking in the somber but absolutely beautiful view. Every now and again, the laughter of a child, could be heard above the crashing waves and seagull cries.
As I stood there, with the wind whipping my once tamed hair. I took a deep breath of the best air in the world, and slowly let it escape my peaceful body. Up until that very moment, I never realized just how much I had missed New England’s ocean. This was why I had come.
I breathed it in again and smiled.
(to be continued…)
An Atypical Day at The Beach
This photo is my entry into Cee’s Odd-ball Photo Challenge
Such a wonderful day! Corinne-my wife, gets an unexpected kiss from Maggie. This was taken on a cold winter’s walk at Hampton Beach New Hampshire.
This is Dr Jones-Jonesie-sitting on the balcony watching our two dogs roughhousing in the snow. I like to think he’s taunting them because he’s safe and warm while they’re out in the cold. This photo makes me smile. I miss that boy, as he’s traversed the rainbow bridge. I believe he thought himself a dog. He would always follow us when we took the dogs out for a neighborhood walk.
Corinne surprised me with a whale-watch tour, out of Cape Anne, Massachusetts. I was able to capture this “whale’s-tail” with my cell phone. Such good memories!