Life moves too fast.
How do I know?
Just ask the beach vacation.
We arrived on Saturday, July 16 on Topsail Island, North Carolina.
Seven days later, we are packed, and departing.
When he was younger, our son, Andrew, would always tear up on the departure day.
Maybe, his tears are silent now. At least I didn’t see any when his family and their packed car headed back to Richmond. I’ll have to ask his wife, Kathryn, if any tears formed once they were out of sight.
My church friend, Elaine Peele, talks about the beach being her happy place. I think the same holds true for my wife, our Commander Supreme, the beach is her happy place.
I sense the beach is a happy place for dermatologists too. Perhaps, these essential doctors feel like a kid on Christmas morning when they view a beach full of scantily clad sun worshippers.
Even though I have a deep appreciation for my dermatologist, I have vowed not to make additional financial contributions to his retirement, summer home, or fancy car.
At the beach, I wear a hat that covers my entire head. If needed, I keep a head gaiter in the pocket of the long sleeved shirt that I wear while on the sandy shore.
Any bare spot on my old body is covered in 50 weight sunscreen, and I spend a lot of time camped out in a chair with an awning under the shade from our wind blown shibumi. Yes, I could be the poster child for grumpy old geezers who avoid the sun.
Despite my overabundance of sun caution, I am drawn to the beach.
I love watching our grandchildren as they learn the beach’s lessons.
I laugh at the haul of required beach cargo brought down from the house each day.
My ears and eyes delight in the sight of a low flying military helicopter scurrying down the coast line.
I respect the pull of the undertow in the ceaseless choreography of the waves.
People watching makes me wonder what beachcombers think when they see me?
I wonder if replenished sand dunes and rows of freshly planted sea oats will still be in place next summer?
I find reassurance when the sun inches up out of the ocean breaching the horizon line and signaling the start of a new day.
I appreciate the aroma of the salt marsh at low tide as it blows over me from a warm summer breeze.
And when life is pushing down on my shoulders, I’ll recall the graceful glide of pelicans skirting in formation in the trough between two cresting waves.
Now, my daydreaming is over.
The beach house is empty.
We have followed the required protocols so that the cleaning crew can make the home ready for the next renters.
The car is packed. In theory, we should have less junk on the drive back, but I’m not sure this is true.
As we pull out of the driveway on to the main road, it is my hope, my prayer that we can come back again next summer.
Goodbye beach, be smart and safe.