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.


Maureen said...

Celebrating rest! Great idea.

My sisters are planning a get-together in Key West. If things work out, I'll join them. I haven't been there since the '70s.

H. Gillham said...

You know I love the beach -- and I agree it's one of the most restful places to be tranquil. The loud surf can block out noise as well as the thoughts in my head --- its repetition of sound is very therapeutic.

I also love the mountains.

BTW: The only kind of vacation we took as children was to visit relatives. Mom and Dad didn't have the superfluous income for vacations.

It's why I find them such a "blessing" now.....

I do feel for those who find vacations frantic and tiring ---

Maureen: I went to Key West two years ago --- it is different. :)

Dawn said...

Love the beach and love the mountains. In the funniest of ironies I just moved from the foothills of the Smoky Mts. to THE MIDWEST. Flat, and pretty much landlocked unless you count the Great Lakes. haha!

Kathleen Overby said...

Salivating. Drooling. It HAS been a long winter. I don't think I'll ever get warm again. Loverby might be feeling a little crowded, as he can hardly peel me off his warmth. :) You might be the only person on earth who has read the complete unabridged Don Q! Maureen, may I be a sister too?

Anonymous said...

I grew up near Redondo Beach. When I was a girl my family of 7 would make a rice cooker-full of rice, then bring it to the pier where we'd buy fresh crab. Then we'd eat crab and rice with our fingers at the beach. Mmm.
(Somehow I manage to associate everything with food!)

Katie said...

I miss visiting FL and the beach... use to do it all growing up. Great restful time.

Anonymous said...

a warm beach, and umbrella, and a book.
sounds wonderful.

S. Etole said...

sounds like a restful place to be ...

Louise Gallagher said...

I love the beach!

and I think it's cool that your photo and diane Walker's photo over at Contemplative Photographer are both of a trail down the middle of a photo.

Very cool!

Sheryl said...

For me, too! My friends say they know I need to go on vacation when they catch me staring at large bodies of water in pictures. My parents live in FL and they know that my arrival means as much beach time as possible. We take our breakfast to the beach. We stop on the way home from running errands. We schedule a few hours a day there when possible. We sit and read there. It's heavenly!

Bonnie Gray said...

I love the beach. It holds a very special place in my heart and my soul. I loved walking long this beach you've transported us to. I hear the gentle crash of the waves and feel the grainy footprints made with each sentence you laid out here for us. God made beaches for the purpose of rest. Thanks Glynn for this nice break.;)

Lori Heyd said...

Thank you glynn, this was like a mini virtual vacation....beach to me has always been synonymus with rest. Last year I stayed in Monterey,California in a little boutique hotel with a balcony right on the water. Every morning I could hear sea lions! Oh, how I want to go back! Lori