Monday, May 2, 2011

At the Beach

The day we went to the beach I took along Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Seemed a perfect choice to read while I relaxed in the beach chair, brushed by the sea breezes and toasted by the sun. Didn't even take it out of the big blue beach bag.  It was much too distracting and fun to watch the people and their dogs.  This was the first time we had been to this dog-friendly beach.  Quite interesting to see the people and their dogs (or is it the dogs and their people?) interact and enjoy the beach together.

I'm also easily distracted by the beach itself.  The waves, the birds, the blowing sand, the reflecting sunlight all absorb my attention. Someday, when I have nothing else to do: no meals to fix, no children to keep an eye on in the waves, no imminent tasks waiting for me at home, no work to be planned, I will spend a whole day just sitting, just watching the waves come and go, flow in and out scalloping the beach with their foamy lace.

It will probably never happen, but I enjoy thinking about it. Even the vivid contrast between the man-made oil derricks, the colorful sail boat, the squealing kids, and the fluid line of pelicans soaring overhead makes for a pleasant pastime.

A little piece of driftwood sparks my imagination and wandering thoughts.  Where did this wood start it's journey-Oregon or China?  What has it seen in its rough and tumble travels through the waves?

This weekend, when I finally did start reading Gift from the Sea, I had to laugh at the first lines.
"The Beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think.  I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit.  One never learns.  Hopefully, one carries down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions.  The books remain unread, the pencils break their points, and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky.  No reading, no writing, no thoughts even--at least, not at first."

She goes on to say it takes until, "some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again."  Guess my one day at the beach won't be quite long enough.

 Being by myself all day without family or responsibilities isn't really what I want, anyway.  I enjoy being busy and surrounded with family laughter and talk. But when the overload alarm threatens to buzz, I like to imagine a day of nothing, lolling at the beach.
         Do you have a favorite place you like to imagine
                       as an escape valve?

1 comment:

  1. You've inspired me to re-read this. Wonderful book. A favorite place as an escape valve....since I work in an office all day on a university campus I like to take a walk in the afternoons around the track. It's usually empty and the tree lined scenery is beautiful. I just let my mind empty out - - not hard to do :)