When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come,
I go to the sea,
and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds,
cleanses me with its noise,
and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me
that is bewildered and confused.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Every time we go to the beach I have all these grandiose plans.
Imma gonna ride a bike, run in the mornings. I’m going to read at least three of these five books I packed. I’m going to photowalk every day and stock up on images for every situation. I’m going to write for hours every day and pull ahead of my content calendar. I’m going to try some of the recipes in the vintage cookbooks. I’m going to visit all the stores and do all the cool things. I’m going to finally do the elaborate fashion photoshoot I’ve been turning around in my brain for like 3 years. I’m gonna film some videos in that wonderful morning light.
Best laid plans and all that… this is what I actually managed to accomplish over 10 days of vacation.
I saw the sun rise. Just once, the day before we left.
There was a girl doing yoga on the beach when it finally emerged from the horizon, and I struggled with the ethics of taking her picture. My conscience won out and I have no awesome photo of warrior pose silhouetted against the sun.
I collected sea shells. One morning I woke up a little too late to see the sun rise, but it was still early and I was all stiff from driving the day before, so I opted to get some exercise and go for a nice long walk on the beach. It was low tide, and about a quarter of a mile in I happened to see a piece of sea glass, and then a cool triangular rock… and then I spotted a balloon in the water and went chasing after it so sea creatures wouldn’t eat it…
All in all, I went maybe a mile and a half over nearly an hour.
I went to the beach with the kids and frolicked in the waves quite a bit. I’m still afraid of the ocean, if I’m honest, and very much prefer to be out there when it’s low tide. The rest of my family thinks low tide is boring, but I’m not in it for the excitement. I could have stood there being moved by gentle waves forever.
There is no better balm for whatever ails you. The ocean soothes my soul.
I celebrated Maverick’s birthday. Fifteen. Fifteen was my favorite year, the year that I came into my own and sort of embraced who I was, instead of hiding it. I loved my friends when I was fifteen and I still think that we were so funny and creative then, together. I’ve met other incredible people and had other wonderfully memorable experiences; I’ve grown to be pretty damn comfortable in my own skin. But no other year as a whole shines for me like 15 did. I’m looking forward to experiencing 15 again with Mav.
I had my picture taken with Jeff. This is something that happens maybe twice a year, if I’m lucky.
It’s not the most flattering shot of either of us but my parents left behind so few pictures; I want my kids to have lots of happy memories to sort through.
We climbed 217 stairs to the top of the Barnegat lighthouse on a day that was so postcard perfect it was surreal.
It was so bright at high noon that I couldn’t really see what I was photographing; it wasn’t until I was going through the photos later that I realized the beach below had messages laid out in stones. I love that people take the time to do that.
I dyed Jake’s hair teal, which got me in a bit of trouble with Jeff. But it’ll fade away soon enough, as will the rest of his childhood: he turns 18 in November. Is there any better time to take small risks, to indulge in a little whimsy, to have a little fun? He’s got the rest of his life to feel compelled to conform.
Also, he looks so much like a teenage me in this picture; I can’t stand it.
I saved a baby shark. There was no one else around; if I hadn’t been there right at that time I’m not sure it would have survived. First I gently pulled it by the tail to the water, but the waves spit him back out on the beach. So I dropped my phone and my camera, picked him up, held him in my hands under the water and took him out past the waves until he suddenly wriggled loose and swam off.
It was one of the most legitimately thrilling things that has ever happened to me. I can’t overstate how affected I was by the experience.
I went on a date with my husband! We didn’t do anything, really, just got dressed up enough to be presentable and walked around, peering into shop windows, people watching at the amusement park, talking about things we want to do and make and build. It was lovely.
I watched the sun set over the bay. You guys, it goes so much faster then you think it will. It’s so beautiful and it happens every day.
So basically I didn’t do any of the the things I set out to do. I wasted my vacation, and it was glorious.
I spent a lot of time alone doing not much of anything at all, and more time with friends and family doing things that I didn’t record: eating, playing, dancing, and oh so much laughing. Laughing until my abs and cheeks hurt, until I was crying and hiccuping.
I can’t think of a better way to spend 10 days.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea