Thursday, March 10, 2011
Rest is a Beach
It seems like it’s been a long winter. A very long winter. I shoveled snow off my driveway more times than I care to think about. And the sidewalks – did I mention the sidewalks? Or that we live on a corner and we are (theoretically) required by our municipality to shovel the snow from our sidewalks? There are two us within a six-block radius of my house who shovel our sidewalks. The last snow was so bad that both us opted to follow the rest of world and wait for it to melt from the sidewalks.
For me, after a winter like this, my thoughts turn to (1) moving south, like really far south and (2) vacationing south.
If you live in the Midwest, a vacation to the south means – the beach.
I’m not making this up. The first time we vacationed at Gulf Shores, Alabama, the people next to us on the beach (we were renting condos in the same development) were from St. Charles, Missouri, about 20 minutes from where I live in St. Louis.
I love the beach. We went to Charleston, South Carolina, for vacation in 1996 – and snuck in a day at the Isle of Palms (one of the places where photographer Kelly Sauer takes really cool photographs). We went to Williamsburg in 1987 (and a few times since), and spent a day at Virginia Beach. In the rain.
The very first vacation I can remember is when I was 4, and we spent a longish weekend at Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I remember the sand and water that tasted like rotten eggs (high sulfur content). When I was older, my family spent several years alternating vacations between the Smoky Mountains and Pensacola Beach.
I attended a conference in San Diego once, and used my free afternoon to drive up to Del Mar and have dinner on the beach, watching the sunset. Another time I was at a meeting at Laguna Niguel and got up early each morning to walk the beach as the sun rose.
The second time our family went to Gulf Shores, we spent almost the entire week on the beach. Each morning, I’d get up, usually with the youngest, and we’d eat something and head to the beach, renting our beach umbrella. We’d walk through the surf, looking for shells, and then sit under the umbrella. He would dig and build and I’d read. I read the unabridged Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes straight through that week, sitting under the umbrella.
As far as vacations go, it was well nigh perfect.
For me, the beach, the sound the waves, the odd critters scampering by or tunneling into the sand, the shells, the sun, all of it is about rest. It’s an emptying out, doing nothing in particular except reading or perhaps a little writing but usually reading and just staring at the sea. It’s a total disruption in a busy routine, and it is good.
After this winter, we’re again talking about going south on vacation. I suspect it will be near a beach.
To see more posts on rest, please visit Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista. She’s busy this month celebrating rest. (Wait, is that a contradiction? Can you be busy at rest?)
Photograph: Beach by Bobby Mikul via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.