BY THE SEASHORE

What started as a passing comment, made with little thought and mostly as a joke, has now turned into a pleasant vacation near the beach.  Of course it didn't really require any thought because I  knew when I said it that it would mean two weeks in an empty house, at the beach, all by myself.  So I was joking, but also hoping, that my mother would take me up on house-sitting for her while she was away on a vacation of her own.
 


 
 The afternoon breeze along the shore is warm and barely moves the reeds, but I sit outside anyway, usually under a tree watching the sailboats come by or reading the books I brought.  Sometimes in the evenings I walk farther down from the intercoastal waters to the big ocean.  It's livelier and brighter there, but only keeps my attention for a short time.  I much prefer the solitude of a little corner where boats sail by one by one and the only sounds are the gentle waves and the shore birds.

When I stand at the shore and let the water drown my feet in the sand, I know the sea is where, one day, I'm meant to be.


 

HOW LIFE CAN CHANGE IN AN INSTANT

I was going to write this morning about my garden, the new flowers and plants I've added around the yard and the beautiful granite rocks I found when I dug under the pear tree, the usual things I write about. But, I've sat at my kitchen table for most of the morning now and I can't put together a sentence about those things. Right now they seem so small, so inconsequential.
 
Yesterday, my son saved the lives of two little girls who got swept away from the shore and carried into the deep waters of the Missouri River.  I've been forever afraid of that river, it's dark and rages wildly under the surface.  It's claimed many lives, most who, I'm sure, didn't realize it's strength. We've taught the boys their whole lives to respect it, never to believe they are stronger than it.  Yet, every time I know they're there, I say a prayer that they remember.  














How does an ordinary day go so awry...so horribly wrong in an instant.  I struggle sometimes with the why?  Not in questioning my faith, but why this one event, how does it all fit in with the goodness and beauty of life.  Or do we just beckon our hearts to be more patient and allow faith to be our guide.... I'm constantly re-evaluating what's important to me, what I want to fill my life with, how and where I want to spend my time, my precious brief time.  Yes, I constantly do it, because in an instant, it may be gone. 
 
He swam in and got the two littlest girls, sisters who were there with their family celebrating father's day.  They were going to be okay, but their father couldn't hold on any longer and let go of Nick's hand.  Their family as they knew it a minute before, had been swallowed up and swept downstream.  Nothing for them will be the same, as will nothing be the same for my son. I keep telling him that he was there for the children, but I'm not sure if he's hearing me right now.
 
I despise the fact that a day of joy turned tragic, that two little girls have to endure this pain, that a man and father's life is gone, that his wife's life is devastated, that my son, even though he saved the children, feels like he failed because he couldn't hold onto their father and that the answer to why most likely will never be clear.
 
I can't imagine the horror or the pain or the void that family must feel. It humbles me and makes me care less about my garden or plants today.  I cried last week because Nick went back home and would no longer be here with us....this morning I cried because I'm so glad he was there.  





RETURNING TO THE CABIN

This past week was an emotional one, with people coming and people leaving.  It was a constant flurry of cooking, packing, going here, going there, saying hello, saying goodbye. I don't do emotional very well.  I cry easily.  I cry hard, I cry for the loss, for the change, for the void, for the uncertainty, for the future, for the sad, for the happy. 

What do you do when you want time to go back, when you wish there was just one more day with someone, when you look at your kids and realize they're all grown up, when you start a new life and leave so much behind or when you finally have to succumb to the fact that you no longer are in control of certain things in your life, that there's no use in playing that silly tug of war game . . . well, you cry, you pray, you adapt, you go on, because that's how life works. That's how it works whether you do emotional well or not.



Today I am at one of my very favorite places.  I'm here alone and inside it looks just like it did last fall before my son arrived.  It's full of our stuff again, the stuff Chad and I collected to decorate it and make it feel like home in the months before we found our house.  There's not much left of Nick here, he gathered it all, packed it up and left for Nebraska again, the place that's calling him back. Remember when I wrote last fall that he and his girlfriend set out on an adventure and came down here to live in our little cabin. That was eight months ago, and yet, it seems like yesterday.  How does eight months feel like no time at all.....He told me that's where home is to him.  With my heart pounding and feeling like it had just sunk into my stomach, I knew what he meant. 

So there we were . . .  

We cleaned and packed, just he and I.  We walked along the shore, stood on the dock together, gathered bricks for my greenhouse and pinecones, we talked about his plans and laughed about everything.  A few times I caught a glimpse of him as a young boy and I'd look again and see an amazing courageous young man.  Standing there with me, talking about his hopes and dreams, while pointing out the ducks on the island and the frogs on the shore, I couldn't have been more proud of him or happier for him. 



So I'm at the cabin today, and yes, I've cried, the deep sobbing kind with warm stinging tears that stain your cheeks and make them rosy.  I sat on the floor most of the morning and let it all out, and when I was done, I remembered that I am happy for him.  And a thought crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe, these months with him down here were more about me than him.  Maybe he was here to help me, and now his work is done.   
  
He's home now safe and sound and I could hear the excitement in his voice when he told me about visiting his friends today and fitting back right back in.  I wonder how I got so blessed.  I'm spending the afternoon here,  sitting on the back steps for hours like I used to, watching the ducks, gathering things from the woods, listening to the sounds.  I feel like I've come back home myself.
 
 
 To read more about our little cabin on the lake:   HERE  /  HERE  /  HERE  /   HERE  /  HERE 

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