an ocean's worth of water
12.10.2003. Lunch in one hand, my little green notebook in the other.
David is absorbed in Vanity Fair, and Noah is in the other room. For all intents and purposes, I am free to sit here at the table and write what I like, without interruption or question.
* * * * *
It's not easy to forget that we're nearly on the ocean here. Hard to forget anything like that when you sit at the dinner table, facing the window, and the breeze that comes over you was over the water just moments before. It smells of the sea, like salt and fish and fresh humidity. Coming from the dryness of Phoenix, I rejoiced; I could feel the skin of my lips and hands beginning to relax even just a few minutes after getting out of the car.If I am still, and listen, I don't even have to walk to the beach to hear the surf. it is the ever-present whisper that underlies all other sounds in this apartment. They don't hear it any more, the inhabitants of this apartment, no more than they smell the tang of the sea when they open their windows for lunch. For me it is as new as it is intoxicating.
This morning marked the third time in my life that I have seen such a thing. My goal is to see as much of it, as often as possible, for the week that I am near it.
"We don't have much sand in Alabama," I said as we walked toward the surf for the first time. I wore my oldest jeans and my sandals, bought almost expressly for this trip.
My sandals dangled from my thumbs as I made my way to the water. It took a few minutes for my feet to relearn the strange half-walk, half-paddle it took to move through ankle-deep sand.
We came to the water forty minutes after high tide, and the closer we got to the surf, the deeper my feet sank into the sand. When an unusually high wave caught me unawares, I was ankle-deep in sand, unable to move my feet in time to escape the cold onrush of water, and left shrieking, arms outstretched, as my jeans were soaked halfway to my knees.
They are now my beach jeans.
It is - oh! - how do I explain this to you when you aren't here with me? - tranquil. Amazingly so. How else do you describe the feeling of having nothing between you and an ocean's worth of water but the sand between your toes?
Noah says he is amazingly happy here. I understand this. In a place like this, happiness comes to you like ocean spray, as gentle of a coating as it is an insistent one.
On its way to me, the breeze ruffles the feathers of the palm trees and rattles the vertical blinds of the front windows. It is colder today, and the higher winds are causing whitecaps on the other side of the street.
When I next walk across the street, I'll need to take my jacket.