i love the beach. the sound of the waves. the feel of the sand. don’t even like to sit on a beach chair. just a sheet. a sarong. a towel. and the melting of your body into the contours of the sand. i love the feel of that handful of sand sifting out into the breeze. my toes working their way through. for a girl from the country. a visitor to grand cities of the world. this is where i feel most at home. i’m a beach bum.
but the sun. that feeling of warmth i love so much. the baking. tanning. worshipping. i’m supposed to be careful about the sun. high spf. covered up if i’m out in it. i’m not a vampire. won’t melt away. but my skin is rejeuvinating itself after the chemo treatments. and i need to be smart. skin like a baby. truthfully my skin has never looked better. it’s no mystery that frying in the sun is a bad idea. i guess the allure of the bronze body is strong. but i am now. and i will decide who i want to be and be it. and i will make smart choices. and kim gave me a great bronzer. my doc said i should treat my skin as a pale skinned dermatoloigist would. so hard for me to process. my summers are about the beach. and i love a good tan. the sunny days. fair harbor. my endless bags of beads. bikinis. hula hoops. beach treasures. body surfing in the froth. flags. waves. my rule at the beach – everyone touches the ocean every day. but the sun.
donna stopped by and helped me go through the last of my clothes. my beach wardrobe. piles of things accumulated each summer since 1999. pj’s i wore right after my daughter was born. and she is 12. shirts and dresses better suited for someone else. or not fit to wear. summer memories. and donna reminded me about how she used to cut off the bottom of old t-shirts and use them as bandanas. and suddenly a solution. thin cotton. soft bands of old shirts. gentle memories. the perfect head covering. i can wear them into the ocean. protect my skin. purging of stuff that becomes a treasure.
and jason was busy with his list. putting up the volleyball net. and the the sun protection. what i imagined as a big tent. somewhat isolated from the vibrancy of the beach. jason is as busy as it gets. that guy. if you know him. you know. it was his job to get the tent for the beach. a ToDo on an endless list. and then life happens. and work. and it’s friday. and we were coming to the beach. and we have no tent. but life is beautiful. and it’s complicated. and we barely make it. racing downtown to get to paragon for the shade he had found. timing so close to get to jamie’s movie – stags. brilliant. union square. paragon. tribeca. macao. traffic. long island. bay shore. water taxi. fair harbor. golf cart. home. 2 am. long day.
and morning comes. and here we are. my summer home. haven’t been here since memorial day. the weekend after my first treatment of chemo. finding my footing in the unknown. a footing i am more comfortable with this second time around. easing into my day. my summer. not sure how it will look and feel for me this summer on the beach. can’t imagine being crouched under an umbrella. a tiny circle of shade. my beach is a community. all the little ones who come and bead with me. i like to move around. i’m a hula hooper. but one step at a time. finding my groove. unpacking. friends stopping by. emma beading. music playing. purging my clothes. organizing my things. calm.
and then i look up. and i look out the window. and there it is.
the perfect solution. four poles. a uv protected square shade. 10 feet above the ground. on the beach. blowing in the breeze. the perfect size. giant. open. light. a room of shade. and my heart is full. and it’s the little things. and it is more than i imagined. and it is a gift. my new beach. my same beach. protected from the harmful rays. warm. light.
and today we gathered under it. friends. neighbors. kids. hula hoops. lemonade. lunch. little guys. sand castles. beach treasures. volleyball right in view. sound of the ocean. feel of the sand. and it is a gift. and it is my birthday monday. and it is the best gift i have ever gotten.
and life is good. and i am home for the summer. and i am a beach bum.