Waves are locked in ice on a silver day while dreams of summer stroll the shore. The gulls still sing but the tourists are gone. It’s just me who’s crazy enough to comb the beach today, searching for shells and glass hidden beneath the snow. I bend down. My ungloved hand closes on something clear, smooth and cold like a glacier. The heat of my skin melts it at first contact and I let go – its ice, not glass. I keep walking, hoping I’ll see red glint in the dim winter sun – the gold, the holy grail of sea glass.
The sky blooms with streaks of pink and purple, possibilities of endless nights sitting on the porch serenaded by peepers and crickets. The sky ignites my dreams of rowing and swimming under the blazing the sun. The sky promises romance and inspiration; ice cream and love. I hold his hand on the dock as the colors fade, yielding their territory to the stars.
The leaves change color and chills master the night. I’m planning a lesson while he scrambles to button up the house. He doesn’t want the pipes to freeze.
I’m back at work, teaching through the sunset, driving home in the dark.
Three years ago today (June 22), it was a hot but breezy Saturday. I married a man who was more creative, kind and beautiful than I could have ever imagined (if you’ve been reading my stories, you know I have a big imagination). Since then we’ve bought and renovated a house, planted a garden, adopted a cat and had dozens of amazing adventures.
Our first adventure as a married couple (aka a honeymoon) was a trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. This morning, I was looking through photos from that trip and started laughing at myself. I hardly took any pictures of my self and my husband. Almost all of them were either of my bouquets, or the scenery, as if those could somehow tell the story and document our trip better than anything else.
And maybe they did. Nature was the reason we choose Bar Harbor. Every day was spent kayaking, hiking and biking in and around Acadia National Park.
I don’t talk or write about religion much, but I’ve always felt closest to God when I was away from people, surrounded by forest, ocean and mountains. We had our official ceremony in a Catholic Church, but in a more private, spiritual sense, the hours we spent outdoors, just me, him and God’s creation, was part of that ceremony or ritual. We spoke our vows before God on the altar then acted them out on the trail. I made sure he drank enough water. He helped me up a rock my short legs struggled to scramble over. I watched when her perched on a cliff edge to take a picture. He made sure we didn’t over do it on the hikes. The more challenging the trail, the stronger our bond became. I don’t think I realized that three years ago, but looking back, its crystal clear. And I’m pretty sure its why my album looks something like this:
The smell of bacon and low tide permeate the air. I breathe deep, savoring the warm, salty aroma. The early spring air still has a bite to it, but the sun soothes the sting as it warms my skin.
Its quiet still – only a few cars out polluting the illusion of pristine air. The music of songbirds and gulls is still the dominant sound. Afternoon winds have yet to stir the ocean, so sparkling sunlight dances across the silky, aquamarine liquid.
I sip my tea, letting the bitterness of over brewed leaves distract me from the displacement I feel. Years ago, I could have called this place home. But home is two hours to the north now, on a lake, in a house that was someone else’s childhood get away. They sold it just like my parents sold the cottage.
The people who bought the cottage tore it down and replaced it with a monstrous McMansion. It certainly isn’t the worst one on the street, but it is nothing like the little shacks that used to populate Monomoscoy Island.
In some ways, my grandfather was unknowing ahead of his time, building with salvaged windows and floors. None of that aesthetic is preserved in the house that stands in its place. Brand new windows, cementitious siding, shiny rocks and pvc trim have replaced the weathered brown shingles, mismatched windows and church floors.
I was kinder to my stolen oasis. Rot forced us to rip out old floors, but the ones we replaced them with were rustic with the same width boards. My husband spent weeks reconstructing the interior of cabinets and walls so we could preserve the old paneling and faces. Sure, we ripped down the white vinyl siding, but we replaced it shingles more like what would have covered the house when it was built in the early 1900’s. Some claim that it would have been easier to tear it down than fix it, but I wanted to preserve the house’s spirit, not break it.
Later in the afternoon, I’m “home” at the house my husband and I have lived in for two and a half years. I’m on the porch. The only thing we changed in this space is the furniture. It has the same indoor-outdoor mini-golf carpet, the same green and white paint and the same screens.
Small waves lap at the sandy beach out front of the house. Voices and the hum of a few boat engines float across the water, competing with birdsongs for my attention. My cat is perched above a speaker, trying to hunt the black birds, occasionally talking back to them with trills and chirps.
There is no cold bite in the air, just the afternoon sun warming my face. It’s getting lower, bathing the sand and water in gold. I have dirt under my fingernails and sand on my feet. There is no salt in the air, but the grilling meat makes my stomach growl.
It’s not the cape, but its mine. My roots are finally starting to break through the soil, drinking up the soul food only the earth can feed me.