Friday, April 22, 2011


In the past week I've been fortunate enough to spend three days at the beach. Mostly in the rain and chill, but it didn't matter. It has been a wonderful reconnection with an old friend.

I grew up the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest and I'm a beach girl through and through. This does not mean tanning on a towel! It means I can spend hours walking the shoreline and climbing logs, alone or with company and be perfectly at peace.

The first day was spent with my children at a tiny strip of sand near the boardwalk downtown. The rain was pouring and the wind was freezing cold (we had woken to snow in the morning), but my daughter had requested the beach as our destination, so way stayed as long as we could--about thirty minutes--before we were driven, dripping, back to the car. The magic was there, even in those chill conditions.

The next day we drove south as a family to Oregon where a short memorial was planned for my husband's grandmother. She passed away last fall, and her descendants gathered for a moment of silence on the shore as her ashes were set adrift in the outgoing tide of the Pacific Ocean she loved. It was my first experience with this sort of service, and it was a fitting and unique send off for a woman who had led a unique life.

After a family luncheon, we changed the kids into less formal clothing and spent several more hours exploring the beach. It was a cool, windy day, but the rain declined to fall. I loved watching my children and their cousins, my husband and his cousins, walk and talk and stare and the waves in awe. It was worth every minute of the fourteen hours we spent driving to be there.

Arriving home, we had a day to ourselves before my husband's brother and family joined us from Oregon. It was their first family visit to the Northwest and we spent a wonderful afternoon at the state park on the beach watching the starfish and marvelling at the sandstone cliffs and rock formations.

It was good for me to remember what I feel like when I'm walking on the beach. When I'm absorbed in observing Creation. It's a hugely centering thing for me and it brings both a sense of well-being and an outpouring of joyful gratitude.