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Posts Tagged ‘beaches’

One of the things I’ve missed the most in these pandemic times is travel.

I love my little nest in Eastie, but I also love hitting the road or jumping on a plane or train, to see somewhere new or revisit familiar, favorite places. Like so many folks I know, I have mourned multiple canceled trips this spring and summer. My guy and I have ridden our bikes all over Boston, and it’s been fun, but I’ve barely been out of the city for months.

Last week, though, I decided to get out of town – at least for the afternoon – and head down to Falmouth, near the base of Cape Cod. My friend Hannah had invited me for lunch and a walk, so I rented a Zipcar and drove down in the late morning. By some miracle I escaped the weekend traffic (in both directions), and the afternoon was just what my soul needed.

Hannah and I met at a writing workshop years ago, and we love talking about books and faith and catching up on our lives. I sat on her sun porch and sipped tea while she made lunch for us, and we ate at a square blue table in her front yard, trading stories while the skies gradually cleared.

After lunch, we slipped on our sneakers and went for a long, rambling walk, past a local farm where someone had nailed a small box to a fence post and written “Enjoy!” on the side. It held a few cherry tomatoes, so I helped myself. And the dahlias nearby were stunning.

We walked down the bike path, through a sedate neighborhood filled with late-summer trees and flowers, over to Little Island and the beach there, which you reach by walking through the woods. There was a rotting pilot whale carcass on the beach (so smelly!) but there was also sweet autumn clematis, blooming away, and the first red leaves. We perched on the rocks and talked for a while, and then we walked back and I hopped in my rental car to make the drive home.

It was only a few hours, but I’d forgotten how refreshing it could be to see different views, explore a new path, breathe (slightly) different air. Not to mention the nourishing company of a dear friend. In these strange, anxious months, making the effort to get away often feels overwhelming. But I’m here to tell you: it is entirely worth it.

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When I told Kristin about our tiny church, I mentioned our small group, which meets on Sunday nights – usually at Ryan and Amy’s, on the west side of Boston. She said, “Wait. You have small groups in a church that size?” I said, “Well, we have one.”

A couple of Sundays ago, at the tail end of a heat wave, Amy proposed a change in plans. Rather than coming to her house to sweat, she said, why don’t we go somewhere with a sea breeze?

There happen to be sea breezes a mile from my house. So we had small group at the beach.

beach fedora abi

Telling stories

The boys played Frisbee, and we girls sat on blankets and talked. We helped the kids hunt for shells, and enjoyed the cool water and gritty sand on our feet.

wading shells atlantic ocean summer sun

feet ocean wading summer

We had a sumptuous picnic, and later walked across the street for ice cream. (No photos – I was too busy eating!)

We stayed until a bank of smoky purple clouds rolled over the sun, gold slivers of light peeking through. And then we piled into cars and headed home, sated with sun and sea air and hours of good, relaxed talk with friends.

beach sunset summer

I’m thinking we should make this a regular occurrence.

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Being a landlocked girl from West Texas, I’ve spent very little of my life on coastlines. I live on one now, of course, but the beach near our house is a city beach, and the view includes the skyline of Boston. It’s a lovely view, but it doesn’t quite give you the feeling of being on the coast, indeed on the edge of our continent.

But last Sunday, I found myself in Rockport, tramping through a state park with my husband and a few dear friends. And we walked to the cliffs, big chunks of granite leading down to rough rocky beaches, with red seaweed growing on the stones. The water was gray and so was the sky, with glimmers of light and the occasional duck paddling around. And it was literally impossible to tell where sea ended and sky began.

I’ve only had that feeling a few other times – standing on the shore of the North Sea in Whitby; walking along the beach or standing on Diamond Head on Oahu, Hawaii; and standing on the cliffs of the Aran Islands, watching the sunlight glitter on the sea, the wind so strong it literally pulled my breath out of my lungs. Sunday’s breeze was a little gentler, the light softer, the weather cooler. But as I stood there I remembered what it felt like to stand on the other edge of the Atlantic. And in both cases, I felt like an explorer, standing on the edge of the world, looking out to endless new horizons and possibilities.

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linen trouser thoughts

The trouble with wearing linen trousers – even smart, black well-cut ones – to work is that they were meant to be worn barefoot. And they’ve been insistently whispering that to me all day. My work flats are just a little too sensible and suburban. These trousers, and their owner, want to be on a beach somewhere.

Which is odd. I’m not really a “beach person” – I have fair skin and burn rather easily, and I’d rather cool breezes than hot sun, usually. But today I’d love to feel warm sand between my toes, play chicken with the waves at Makapu’u Beach as I did four years ago, and flop down for a couple of hours (under a tree, but still on the beach) and lose myself in a good summer paperback.

(I did buy these trousers to wear on the beach in Spain this summer. Maybe they’ve already picked up an intimation of their destiny.)

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