Last night, the Crankee Yankee and I drove to the ocean. We purposely go just before most folks’ dinnertime so that it isn’t so crowded. After passing through all the honky-tonkish spots in Hampton, we drove out to Rye. We stopped for a quick bite, then sat in the car to people-watch.
Shortly afterward, I went down to the water for a walk (the Crankee Yankee preferred to stay in the car). There’s something about standing on that little margin of wet sand between dry land and the ocean–watch the water long enough and you become swept up in the hypnotic rhythm of the waves. A family of brown ducks floated serenely on the swells, and seagulls wheeled and screeched and soared overhead. The sun was still bright, and the water was cold enough to turn your kneecaps blue.
The Atlantic ocean is vast, dark, and frigid even in summer, and it grumbles and roars day and night. It doesn’t pussyfoot in like the Pacific ocean, either. It’s a tough old sea and it keeps you on your toes. It gleefully smashes up any shells that might be found on the shore, except for the odd slipper shell or whelk. Ropy strands of seaweed mark the division between land and sea, and bright pebbles of white, amber, gray, black and taupe spread out on the sand like jewels on a velvet cloth. When I was a kid, I collected many of these little bright stones, and was so disappointed when I found them later; dry and reduced to flat monochromatic shades.
So as I stood there, bare feet in the water and the cuffs of my best yoga pants soaked, all I could feel was just plain happy. Happy for that moment in time when all feels well, where there are no demands or deadlines, no one wanting to go home when you want to just stay where you are and appreciate the sounds and smells of the sea.
I suppose that many people feel like this; part of the rhythm of the winds and tides, feet slowly freezing in the water. I imagine people all over the world who enjoy this simple pleasure, and, for that moment, are content.
Heaven knows that there is a gracious plenty of bad things going on in the world, and I don’t need to enumerate them here. Suffice it to say that there is also an accompanying gracious plenty of good things, too. Little acts of sweetness, kindness, joyful giving and receiving, a smile, a hug, a ‘good morning;’ all little things.
That would be my prescription for a good day: start it or end it with your feet in the sea. It gives you perspective on where you are, who you are, and what gifts you may bring to the world….all that from just standing in freezing sea water? Yup–you betcha! Try it yourself and see.