I recently arrived home after two weeks of summer vacation.
I tried to make the trip a kind of therapy, designed to wash myself clean of chaos, stress and onerous responsibility. I was searching for peace.
My vacation therapy consisted of walking barefoot on the beach in the evenings under a blood moon. On a night as bright as day, the waves drummed a rhythm against the shore, the sea foam crawling up the sand like fingers, and then receding, leaving tiny white crabs that scuttled up the beach to the safety of dry land. I watched while one beady-eyed fellow burrowed beneath the surface, leaving a round, dollar-sized hole in the sand. It was then I noticed the hundreds of holes across the beach in varying diameters depending on the size of its crab occupant. There they hid, waiting. For what, I wondered. Prey to happen by, the tide to return, the morning light?
I imagined the dark silence of a sand hole.
There is always a breeze on the shore and with it came the scent of the still warm beach, the cooling waves, the salty tang of the Atlantic water. Other seaside locations I’ve been to have stunk of fish and rotting seaweed. And I realized this was one of the sweetest smelling places I’d ever been.
Wrapping a cardigan reflexively against a breeze warmer than my skin, I looked out across the vast ocean, the water glittering in the blue light of a depth of stars. The tide would pull itself relentlessly inward, until the moon whispered “enough” and it would reluctantly begin to recede in a pattern as old as time.
The sea was the future, vast and unknowable. The beach at my back was the past, dotted with crab holes, pockets of secrets in the dark.
I breathed. There between the sand and the sea was where I found, at least for a moment, a kind of peace.