i stepped outside this morning, and there it was.
it was right there, on my doorstep, in all its hazy beauty. i wanted to stand there and drink it all in. it was just humid enough, with a light breeze, and that particular light that comes from the sun making half an attempt to burn off the haze. i haven't seen that light in a long time. you usually only see it on the waterfront.
oh... i wanted to pack up a lunch and head for the beach. it would have been perfect. a hamper of cream cheese and raspberry jam sandwiches, a huge thermos of lemonade, some trashy old paperbacks to reread, and a big ol' towel to throw down on the sand. no swimming, it's still too early for that. but maybe wading along the waterline, up to the ankles, getting feet numb and scrunching toes in the sand while watching the birds reel across the sky and looking for shells.
those were my favorite days at the beach, when you got down there early to watch the day unfold. the light would change, continually and subtly, giving you an ever evolving canvas to observe. around the middle of the day, you might want to duck into the general store to cool off a bit, and get some penny candy. Pixy Stix, Red Hots, Everlasting Gobstoppers, or the liquid sugar in the wax bottles. we'd suck the sugar water out, and then chew the wax, thinking that we could get one more taste of sweet out of it. then back onto the beach, maybe moving over by the breakers so you'd have a backrest while you were reading. and at the end of the day, you'd wander home, burnt and tired and happy.
or better yet, this would have been a great day to take a canoe out on the water. paddling around, just watching and smelling salt water... we used to go over to this bay in Falmouth and take the canoe across to the island, and hike around all day on the pretense of doing work (i worked for a Nature's Classroom kind of place). the sandwiches would always get kind of melty in the sun, because we'd forget to put them under the seat to stay cool. we'd gather up a few samples, take notes, see what had changed since the last time, but mostly just enjoy the day, the chance to get outside, out of the classroom. invariably, stu would leave the sunroof open on the car (or maybe it was broken; can't remember), and the car would end up full of sand after we hoisted the canoe back up on top.
i miss living near the water. yes, i know. i can scoot downtown and hop on a ferry out to the harbor islands. but it's not the same as walking ten minutes down the road and having the beach at your personal and immediate disposal. days like this, i want desperately to get out of the city. the grit and noise get to me. so i spend the day daydreaming about being out on the water, or near it, anyway.
we used to summer down the Cape every summer, before we moved down there. i remember all the cottages we stayed in. they were mostly all on the same road, altho we didn't get the same place every year. one place, on the right side of the road, i remember we set the pot holders on fire by accident. and i ended up with a stomach ache from eating too many raisins. another year, we were across the street in a place with huge bushes of rambler roses. they smelled wonderful. we were down there for my birthday that year, and i can picture sitting on the bed in the side room, windows open, breeze coming in the screens. i got a pillow with a Joan Walsh Anglund picture on it; the caption says 'a friend is someone who likes you.' i still have it. and i got my first watch that year. i was 8 or 9, i think. it was a gold Timex with a maroon plastic band. the band is long gone, of course, but i think the watch is still kicking around in my jewelry box.
there was (probably still is) a restaurant at the end of the street. Rosie's. it was a big treat to go there. mind you, it wasn't a big fancy place. we'd walk down the sandy road and have a big dinner, and i think it was as much of a treat for my parents, since they didn't have to cook.
we'd go to the beach from there most days, if it wasn't raining, and my grandparents would come along; they lived right around the corner from there. my dad would give us piggy back rides in the water, where we'd hang on to his neck and he'd swim along. at first, it was kind of scary, because i couldn't figure out when he'd have to go under water a little bit, and the water would get all up my nose. but once i caught on, it was great. and we'd have contests to see who could skip a stone the farthest. i think dad still holds the record, at something like 12 or 14.
we also had lobster races. when we went to my grandparents' house for dinner, the adults would get lobster and we got fish, i think. we definitely got fresh corn, right from the farm stand. and before dinner, my brother and i would race the lobsters across the round braided rug in the kitchen. they never got very far, but we would give them names and see who could win. needless to say, it was a bit traumatic when our new pets became dinner. ;) i've recovered from it, tho. i adore steamed lobster. frenchy finally clued me in on the secret: the little swimmers on the tail have some of the sweetest meat. props to him for that bit of info. oh, see, now i'm hungry. well, i'll just have to dream about lobster, and maybe that's what we'll do for dinner tomorrow. *drool*