“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea…..” (Isak Dinesen)
So I talked about SWEAT and TEARS… now my favorite salt water… THE SEA!
The ocean cures all wounds, physical and emotional. Ever had a cut or scrape (or poison ivy?) and gone into the ocean only to have it heal much quicker than normal? The ocean will do that. Ever felt so low and lost that you are not sure how you will find your way again, then looked out at the ocean only to feel a calmness? The ocean will do that. The rhythmic ebb and flow, not to mention the size, will calm your soul and let you know that life is so much bigger than your problems. I have to admit right up front, I do NOT go far out in the ocean… I have seen too many sharks and have no desire to meet one up close. (Remember “JAWS”?!?!) But still… the beach is my favorite place on earth and the closest place to God for me. Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach.
Surfside Beach, a small family beach south of Myrtle Beach is my happy place. When we were kids, my family vacationed at Surfside with 2 other families… We loved going to Surfside and staying in the true Beach Houses – those with no AC, big porches, and great names. One house we rented was the “PINK LADY”. I cannot remember why it was called the Pink Lady – I don’t even remember it being PINK! I guess my age is no secret here, so it should be no surprise that by this point the Pink Lady, and all the other old beach houses, are no longer standing, replaced with newer editions. I have now come full circle back to Surfside Beach, where I have a house of my own. (By the way, we originally named the beach house “IT’S A SHORE THING,” however since we now know it was NOT a “shore thing”, I have changed it to “DON’T WORRY….BEACH HAPPY”! Like it?)
“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
The minute I step outside of my car and breathe in that salty, muggy, sultry, humid sea air at the beach, I am at peace. You just cannot find this aroma anywhere else! I go to the beach as often as I can to renew my soul, rejuvenate my spirit, and refresh my outlook… and it works. Everything seems simpler at the beach: running, bike riding, even sleeping, and everywhere you go the happy beach people wave at you and say, “hey y’all” (and for “you guys” North of the border, if they are greeting more than two people it’s, “hey ALL y’all!”)
I am so thankful for my beach neighbors who have taken me in and helped me with so many issues surrounding beach house ownership – from having trees trimmed, to roof repairs after Hurricane Matthew, to giving me mothballs to get rid of a small snake in the storage area! (I do NOT do reptiles!) AND for telling me about the “Bendable Body Wand” – a 14-inch wand that helps me get sunscreen on that hard-to-reach spot on the middle of my back! Unlike my teen years at Surfside, when Baby Oil counted as sunscreen, I am now strictly SPF30 or higher. The problem was reaching the middle of my back SOLO. Problem solved.
Proudly, I can say I have mastered many of the tasks I was not responsible for BD (Before Divorce)! I changed the AC filters in the house, got my cable bill lowered, and figured out how to charge, lock, and secure the cover on my golf cart. Believe me, this is no easy task for a 5’2” woman to do SOLO!
I have also become an excellent power washer – power washing everything I can find and reach – including the beach bikes. As much as salt air heals my soul, it does cause damage to some things, like handlebars. But, a little elbow grease and car wax and Voila! Rust is gone and the bikes are good as new, like me! However, this time I did not do everything SOLO…..my patient brother-in-law (who is more like a brother to me) provided a little extra elbow grease and taught me how to use the air compressor to pump up all the bike tires. Asking for his help was a great lesson for me. Being SOLO does not mean I am invincible and accepting help doesn’t make me less independent. Everybody needs a hand getting the air back in their tires sometimes.
But my favorite part of the beach is being ON the beach – sunbathing, reading, sleeping, walking, people watching and clucking – what is clucking you ask? Well, have you ever seen someone walking down the beach, head down, eyes trained on the sand, every now and then dropping down to pick up that special shell? That’s clucking – similar to a chicken pecking. I LOVE seashells and have learned so much about the different types – Olives, Augurs, Limpets, Slipper Shells, Cockles… I have them displayed in vases everywhere: the beach house, my office, my Charlottesville house, even my kids have some on display in their homes. I am addicted. I look for seashells every day at the beach. But even more exciting than a great seashell is a shark’s tooth. My best friend growing up and I were professional shark’s teeth hunters when we visited Surfside as kids. Though I usually find more (with my eagle eyes – can’t hear worth a darn, but I sure can see), my personal goal is to find at least 1 shark’s tooth each day. Here are a few “treasures” from my recent weekend at the beach.
Now the big question… do I retire and move to Surfside, or will it lose the “retreat” feel for me if I live there full-time? Fortunately, (or not?) I don’t have to make that retirement decision yet, although truly I would LOVE to live in Chapel Hill for a couple of years and be surrounded by Tar Heel fans (and all that beautiful CAROLINA BLUE)… but that is a topic for another day!
“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” -John F Kennedy (who would have been 100 years old Monday, May 29th)
So head to the ocean, get your sweat on, have a good cry and HEAL! I did!
See you next Wednesday!