How to: have hope

Least Tern scrape
American Oystercatcher caginess
Waiting to be found

Just as the sun steps over the horizon, head east. Drive with the sun in your eyes until you hit water. Do not think about yesterday’s losses. Do not linger too long over what might’ve been. Do not wonder what you should have done differently.

Climb over the seawall and greet the Oystercatchers on their way to the river. Tip-toe through the wrack and nod towards the grumpy fishermen. Get down on your hands and knees to see what gifts the tide has left you. Do not mind the tears; the sand and the wind in your eyes are a good excuse.

See the Least Terns overhead: the brazen, bustling air-defense system of this beach. Let your eyes map their petite features: the quick wings, the black cap, the downward-pointing yellow bill. Count them by the dozens. Admire the simplicity of their nest: in a pebbly depression of dry sand, eggs 1 to 4, from pale greenish to dull drab, spotted with clear brown and some lavender.

Things I can’t resist

Another little black party dress

One last dip in the ocean before heading back to the city

One more piece of pie!

Bunny butts,

puppy kisses

and trying to catch frogs

 
Trying to get the perfect tree photo
 

 

 

 

Or the pefect sanderling photo

Sticking my nose deep into blooming tea olive bushes

Whistling back at Blue Jays 

Poetry at bedtime
 

Lens flare
Touching velvet 
 
Naps
 
Stopping to watch Red Tails turn lazy circles in the sky above me
Waking up napping kitties 
Going barefoot 
 
Green olives
 
Singing along with Paolo Nutini
Befriending horses on country roads 
Another cup of coffee 
 
Making funny faces at shy babies
 
Guacamole

How to vacation at the beach

Befriend the ghost crabs…

An easy way to do this is to have a picnic lunch on the sand. Bring heirloom tomatoes, basil and fresh mozarella from home. Pack a beer or two in the cooler. Sit in the shade while the locals gather shrimp in their seine nets. Try not to act too alarmed at the small sharks they bring ashore. Once you’ve forgotten about them, the ghost crabs will come out of their burrows.
 
Let the surf rock you to sleep at low tide… 

The beach has stretched out as far as it can go (and on Jekyll Island, that’s pretty far!) I think low tide is the best tide… it’s open, gentle and inviting. Sea life enlivens the shallow water and it’s a fun time to explore what’s been left behind with the outgoing tide. There’s always some treasure… we caught glimpses of small sharky fins and a ray or two. Sadie seemed to love the gentle rocking of the sea. It’s also a good time to start a drip castle… dig a little hole and pile up the sand… let it dribble between your fingers and before you know it, there’s a world of towers, silly and crooked.
Daydream beneath a canopy of live oaks draped with spanish moss… 
Shade is important on a beach vacation; too much sun on all of those bug bites will be very painful when you’re trying to sleep later tonight… I’m not sure how I lived without the occasional sight of live oaks before moving to GA… they are the most wonderful of trees, I think! 
Breathe deeply of sky and salt marsh… 
The salt marsh is another wonderful place for exploring, especially if there’s a paved path to do it by bike! Fiddler crabs abound, as do the birds who hunt them.
Watch the sun go down behind the marina… 
There can never be too many sunsets over the water on a beach vacation, right? It’s all sort of strange and magical. We’d gone from place to place each day trying to avoid the bugs, but they found us, especially, here. The beautiful view was almost worth the bites, though.
(The shrimp and grits were especially worth the bites!)
: )
Count the pink birds when they show up… 
Let’s see… 8 roseate spoonbills, 6 wood storks, 3 tri-coloreds… who else?

Find a little town that harbors shrimp boats… 

Shrimp boats always dot the horizon here; it was fun finding them, finally, at rest.
Be on the lookout for sea turtle hatchlings!
We walked on the beach just about every night (another ploy to escape the bugs at the campground!) and all of those nights were leading up to/during/just after the fool moon. It’s a wonderful walk when the tide is out… the sand glows and the water twinkles under the huge moon. So beautiful! Who could be inside at a time like that? Who could sleep? We had a magical experience with some loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings on our first night on Jekyll… more to come!

Getaway plans

seashells cover the beaches, tinkling like wind chimes as they tumble over one another in the waves

Our next throw-everything-in-the-car-plus-the-dog-roadtrip-to-escape-the-city is on for next week. We’ll be spending a couple days on Sanibel Island and then a couple days around St. Pete. A visit to Ding Darling NWR as well as Fort DeSoto is on the agenda. We’re hoping also to fit in a dinner date with a long quiet blog friend while in her neighborhood.

J is plotting our course over his beloved maps. Me, I’m looking forward to…

blue sky dawns * shelling on one of the best beaches in the world * pelicans! * salt spray * white sand underfoot * key lime pie * driving with the windows down * roseate spoonbills * at least one drink with an umbrella * wearing flip-flops for a couple days * watching J make drip castles in the sand * laughing gulls! * my polka-dot bikini * palm trees * sunshine * sandy feet * sunsets * floating * hermit crabs * sandbars * humid salty air * staring at the horizon

25

I pick the prettiest part of the sky and I melt into the wing and then into the air, till I’m just soul on a sunbeam. ~Richard Bach

Yes, I’m still checking off items from last year’s list…

: )

Kite flying has always looked like such fun to me and a little boy at the beach on Labor Day weekend with a stunt kite inspired me to get my own. A stunt kite has two lines for control and is not anything one can put up into the sky and tie off to a beach chair to be forgotten while you sunbathe.

You have to manage this thing and boy, is it fun! A gentle (or not so much) tug on either the right-handed or left-handed line will set the kite diving in whichever direction… the wind plays its hand and the kite is making loop the loops in a dangerous spiral towards someone’s umbrella…

Crash!!

There was much giggling and some cheering, even… a brisk wind and the sun low on the beach at Cape May… the lighthouse behind us… the curiosity of an Amish family out for a seaside afternoon…

I hadn’t felt so lighthearted in a long while.

And next I want to learn how to do tricks!

: )

25 in last year’s 39 by 40.

How to: be happy no matter what

Say yes to a ridiculous idea.

Inhale deeply the scent of a beloved pet.

Walk barefoot on the beach.

Remember all the times you never thought you’d make it this far.

Ask a small child to help you paint your toenails.

Dance to that one song…

Take a nap.

Do something creative.

Have something wonderful read aloud to you.

Wear a shortish dress to show off your long legs. Accept all compliments graciously and with a wide smile.

Treat yourself. Maybe to ice-cream. Or fresh flowers.

Give away love everywhere and any way you can.

Go to the farmer’s market and buy a pint of strawberries, then eat them quietly in your living room when you are all by yourself.

Make funny faces at very small children when their parents aren’t looking.

Work out. Not to be skinny, but because becoming strong will make you feel powerful and confident in so many other ways.

Show up even if you don’t know what to say.

Water the garden.

Take time off. Travel. Meet strangers where and how they live; get a larger perspective of the world and its people and your place in it.

Read an old love letter as a reminder that you have been adored.

Sit with the ocean or under a huge old oak.

Want what you want just because you want it.

Compliment a total stranger.

Buy one bar of lovely dark chocolate and eat one tiny square a day like it is the secret to life and liberty.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Care to add to the list? What makes you happy no matter what? Let’s make a list we just can’t help but love!

What I’m craving

change * sun-streaked hair * a warm Jersey tomato * beach, beach, beach * a Lensbaby * pure silliness * a sundress occasion * a picnic in the shade * easy laughter * floating docks * a good nap * daring in the face of reality * courage for a new plan * strength to say what i want, need and must have *grace enough to accept the fallout * a bubble bath * beach plum jelly * Luka kisses * a thunderstorm * black raspberry ice cream * blackberry pearl (please someone talk me out of buying a purplish car!!) * room in your sunshine * a book to get lost in * camel pose * honesty * ice-cold strawberries

4 (redo)

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

So earlier this evening I sat on my little patio wiggling my freshly-painted toes in a roasting pan filled with sand and seashells and water from the Pacific Ocean.

I smiled and giggled and hoped my neighbors couldn’t see what I was doing.

The sand and seawater and roasting pan were presented to me a while back in a cardboard box with instructions on how to affect the above photo.

The seashells were mine, collected on a trip last year along my familiar eastern coast, but added for the sake of realism.

😉

Can anyone, by the way, explain to me why NJ beaches are devoid of proper seashells?

Anyway so… it’s not exactly what I had in mind for #4, but it’ll do for now and I learned a couple things:

sand from that other coast is very pebbly and must feel nice underfoot

the sea is just as salty-tasting on the other side of the country

of course I tasted it!

(that wasn’t in the instructions, tho)

it’s good to have friends who travel to far-flung places and are as nutty as you

(or maybe more so)

if you’re going to do anything as silly as this, it’s best to save it for that moment when the mood strikes you at the end of a very long Terrible Tuesday when you’re sick of being the mean-social-worker-lady.

(silliness is an excellent challenge to meanness)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Another attempt at 4 in last year’s 39 by 40. I haven’t quite perfected the new list just yet.

Things I don’t ever want to do

eat snails
a big year
refuse help
karaoke
stop trying
star in a reality tv show
forget to laugh
go to Disney World
believe the worst about people
work weekends again
be perfect
live too far from the ocean
miss the magic in an ordinary moment

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thanks to MevetS for use of this photo!