Every crisp morning I race over the dunes to catch the first glimpse of light across the white sand. In the nick-of-time, I make it to the peak just as the light begins to cascade over the beach. I am always welcomed with the tradewinds; lightly twirling my hair in a dancing motion. Standing motionless, mesmerized by God’s subtle beauties plastered across the beach, I can only seem to feel calm and as if all of life’s troubles slip into the salty breeze.
My joints begin to break the frozen, simplicity of my enjoyment, to send me on my reasoning for coming down here this early in the first place. Not even two steps into my stroll to the waters edge, I spy my first treasure of the day. A small, ebony shell peeks up from the sand and as I bend down to retrieve this small trinket, my eye catches another one and another one. As I continue to bend, never standing fully erect as I move, more and more shells come into sight. Finally I have made my way to where the waves kiss the shore. The weight in my old, rusty bucket pulls slightly on my arm, causing my mouth to turn up in sweet satisfaction.
Every day I search and search for more shells to collect. And my goal for each day is to make it to the pier before my bucket overflows. In a fortunate win-lose situation, my bucket is full before I make it to the bony structure coming out of the ocean. Regardless, I make my way under the pier to examine each and every shell I scooped up for the day.
The sand under the pier is usually untouched at this time of day, making me feel as if this beach is mine and mine only. I spill my bucket over in childlike excitement, proudly reveling in the amount I have obtained. Each shell is different than the rest. Some may look the same but at further inspection each one has its own quirks. All are tumbled smooth from the pounding waves, but each one shows a different aspect of their endeavors. Although, they may have started out more rough and jagged, their journey to the shore left them smooth and soft. Finally when my inspections come to an end, I thank the Lord for the ability to enjoy the simplistic blessing the ocean and beach have to offer.
There is a place that God himself created for the laid back and the worn down. Whether it is along the coasts, on the islands, or even in the secluded lagoons, there is a place where only a special type of person can enjoy life to its fullest potentials. These places carry with it a little magic that gives its permanent and temporary inhabitants a sense of fulfillment with the world. Most people can never experience the wonders that this lifestyle carries with it, and to those I raise my glass in hopes that one day, while in the clouds, they’ll be able to experience these wonders they missed while on Earth.
A perfect explanation to this lifestyle cannot be relayed by message, only wondrously experienced, making these places so much more exhilarating and organic. Whenever I’m asked as to why I obsess over something such as a salty body of water, I can only describe it with a smile; it’s my way of life, the only way of life.
The crisp air stung my face as I walked along the well-used path. The moon was starting to give way to the sun, letting it take its shift. I mimicked a stealth agent as I walked across the rustling leaves, dodging the fallen branches, careful not to disturb anything. Finally arriving at the tall maple I began to ascend the ladder to my hidden blind. The sun finally gave way through the clouds touching the hills of the open meadow. An hour passed with anticipation getting the best of me, then the rustling of leaves and the grunting of my prey awoke the natural born predator inside me. As quickly as the noise came it had stopped. I frantically looked around knowing it was the monster I have been tracking all season. My eyes suddenly shot to the edge of the woods as the branches of a low lying tree snapped off.
In the meadow a mature doe stood breathing heavy and fast obviously worn down from the escape she made from the rut. I knew when her ears perked he was close. In the distance the view of ivory antlers came into sight, igniting my senses. He was finally into view, prancing broadside in my bow’s sights. His massive body matched his twenty-point rack. This particular rut-stricken buck has come into my trail cam’s memory for two years only to disappear like a ghost during the season.
Every hair on my body stood erect as the adrenaline coursed throughout my veins. My breathing became labored as I waited for the right chance to release my razor edged arrow. I allowed him to let out one last breath that vaporized in the crisp autumn air. A single bead of sweat escaped my pore to run down the edge of my tautly clenched jaw. I let my fingers relax from my waxed string, releasing the arrow to cut through the air. With one blink he jumped kicking the air as the blood escaped from the exit wound. With that, I knew death had taken over his body. With one last sprint he tried to run from his fate, but alas the blood loss got the best of him and he lied down in a stumble. A rush of victory overcame me as I knew I ended the King’s reign. When death had settled him I ran to his side to look at the trophy I had just claimed. Two years of hard work and perseverance had shown in the deer, making me, a woman, to harvest one of the largest bucks in the entire state.
Tears of joy sparkled in her mother’s eyes. It was almost time to open a new chapter of her life with the man she loved by her side. Beginning as a small spark, their love for one another kindled into a burning fire. Today was the day they took each other hand in hand vowing their lives to one another. She was dressed in a lace embellished gown that stopped itself short above her tanned knees. Jeweled barefoot sandals were the only thing that outlined her feet. In her sun kissed curls hung a small blue beret that held up a cascading veil, which lied itself around her broad feminine shoulders and continued to the small of her back. With just the right intricacies, the hand sewn veil let her elegant simplicity shine through.
She stood in front of the open window, letting the salty air sweep over her. She turned gazing at herself in the mirror, she could see a strong beautiful young woman staring back. The bountiful sunlight that streamed through the curtains gave her features an almost iridescent appeal. Lost in a wonderful daydream she almost didn’t hear her mother telling her it was time. The sun began to set turning the sky all sort of crimsons and oranges with a touch of peach hues. Stepping outside, anticipation came over her body, making her want to sprint to the alter. When the alter came into sight her ocean blue eyes met with his golden-green, hazel eyes. She could see, even from afar, the genuine love that he had for her. He let the sight of her wash over him like a summer rain. He had never seen her so beautiful in all of their years together. After what had seemed like a life time for the both of them, she made it to the shell encrusted alter with grace and poise. They happily announced their, “I do’s,” and let their lips come together in a celebratory manner. They pulled away from one another and let vibrant smiles come across their faces. .
Blissfully she sat at the edge of the bow letting the sun’s rays penetrate her skin. She reveled in the warmth moving her head from side to side making sure it hit every inch. Her well tanned skin and the Atlantic sun have agreed on terms since they have come in contact for a few years now. Although sometimes the sun will break contract letting the sting of summer settle just at the top of her round cheeks and accenting the crest of her nose. Stinging cheeks and a tourist-like nose didn’t put a damper to her gentle rocking as the waves contacted the porcelain like sides of the boat. They were always trying their hardest to reach the hand-painted words that read, “The Salt Life Writer.”
Reminiscing on the day she proudly painted those words, she couldn’t help but crack a vibrant smile. So much success beamed from the simplicity of those four words. She began to believe that her sea legs have become a permanent asset to her body. She embraced the past years as many seconds, minutes, hours, and days seemed to fly by right in front of her ocean blue eyes while residing on this vessel. Memories of competitive fishing among friends, many island drinks sloshed here and there on well used deck, and even the more professional use of the office space that accompanied a hammock for a desk-chair and a typewriter for the equipment, ran through her mind causing a whirlwind of simplistic happiness to overcome her body.
An investment some people called it, she referred to it as a way of life. Well-needed naps, cleansing, healing moments that soothed the soul, moments filled with laughter and love among friends and family, and the bringing together of man and sea were embedded into the core of this boat. This boat acted as if its genetic makeup wouldn’t allow for anything else but blissful simplicity and some salty tears to be shed. Blessed was a word she used often when boasting about her floating vessel. Life on a boat was something to be cherished and hopefully never forgotten.
Just as the ocean, she waited until the right time to break down and unleash the storm within. She tried her hardest to time her emotional cleansing with the occasional coastal storm the ocean would let free. As the dark and calm began to set in the overcast, she could feel the hurricane in her soul begin to spin. Wind howls at the anticipation and the rain falls to the earth slow at first, then gaining speed and force. With each strike of lightening her heart pulsates harder and harder. The thunder courses through her body, making everything she has bottled up, break and burst through the barricade she has built. The storm has now reached full rage both inside and out.
Tears spill over the rims of her reddened eyelids as the rain batters the window panes. She let the noise of the storm encase her as she stepped out the door into the battlefield. The ocean roars as she sprints to the waters’ edge. On the crest of the dune she gazes into the heart of the havoc seeing rage in all of its glory.
Just as soon as the storm had come it quickly had stopped. It let whatever else it had left fall in small drops kissing her skin as she made her way to the sand. Her tears began to stop as the rain let up. With the storm, it brought a whole new world. Letting herself break down and become new again mimicked the effects the storm had on the coast. She never let herself fall to the trials and tribulations that were thrown at her, but when she finally did, she experienced it in the most tantalizing way possible, creating a better impact. She smiled as a beautiful array of colors, composed as a rainbow, stretched itself across the blue sky.
On the edge of the worn dock she let her toes glide along the glass-like water causing it to swirl and dance under her touch. Quietly she let the printed five digit number stare back at her. With a flip of her hair, she scoffed at the outrageous amount of money that preceded her name. A mere week before she would have let tears shed at the sight of this account, but now she smiles in ridicule of the big name bank. She stumbled upon the chance of a life time while visiting the beautiful Outer Banks.
An agent who once had slicked hair and a dapper wardrobe, resided in the quiet area where she came to relax and recharge. He was a man of great power at one time, power that masked something of a benevolent weasel. For awhile he was content with his slimy uprising in the book market. He hid his disgust for himself with the piles of money he squandered from aspiring writers. One day he woke with his guilt gnawing at his conscience, finally breaking through the nasty exterior to a softer side that was lined with honesty. His overwhelming internal up-rise caused him to up and run to the Atlantic coast to uproot the man he has buried deep inside.
He walked the waters edge every morning to revel in the simplicity of the calming ocean waves. He never seemed to notice the tourists who have unfortunately felt the sun’s wrath, but today one caught his eye. She was young, early twenties, with sunkissed hair and a bronze tone all over her skin. Sitting in the sand, she pounded the keys of a keyboard that preceded her about three decades. Aged and rusted here and there, the typewriter methodically printed what came from the kaleidoscope of colors in her mind. Curiosity pushed him to her side.
They spoke casually about the work she had just ground out. Politely he inquired to see the masterpiece she had created. Even with his past, he had an eye for good writing. What his eyes came across now was something of pure excellence. With continued conversation he offered her a deal.
He knew he wanted to get back into the world of writing, but in a way that is accepted by society’s standards. She knew she wanted to get into the same world but she lacked the inside know how that he possessed. With her God given talent and his connections they could make each other’s aspirations a reality.
So now on the worn dock, some short months after their meeting, she was proudly able to let New York Times Best-selling Author embellish her now impressive resume. She let the salt air sweep through her hair causing it to tickle the edges of her sun kissed face. Reminiscing on what her life was before she began to remember how her life once was.
My mother, what a woman. She built me a solid foundation, one only God could diminish. She raised me in a sense that I think all mothers should. She raised me just as God raised the ocean. She has shown me how to be gentle and powerful all in the same manner. Just as God has shown the waves to be calming, yet strong, bringing serenity to those who are worn and strength to those who are weak. Just as the ocean, I too feel the need to bring people to a place of peace, a place to feel safe and at home. The ocean mirrors my sense of anger and despair by unleashing it’s fury all in one powerful storm. But soon the lightening ceases and the rain let’s up, the ocean has cleansed itself, ridding what it has bottled up.
She has given me the ability to feel deeply about my beliefs, just as the ocean portrays things in a way to give a deeper meaning for life. Like the ocean, my mother has told me to show my true beauty through every action I take. God has shown my mother in each and every way possible to raise me as he has raised the ocean. No one truly understands my connection to the salty waters, only the the lucky ones. I am proud to say I was and will forever be ocean raised.
Wondering if she would even recognize the person that would stare back at her along the waves edge, she up and ran to see for herself. Burying the person she once was, was an easy task, at first. She let herself become what society made her to be. She smiled less, ate less, and even slept less all to become the best that she could be. She hid her simplistic ways to accomplish a fast paced, cut-throat lifestyle, that she thought she had wanted. Now, cruising down the desolate interstate, she shook her head at her shallow choices in life. As she made it to where the ocean met the land, she cracked a crooked smile at the way the sand pushed out from the sides of her pasty feet.
When she reached the waters edge, she became hesitant to look at her reflection. When the seal on her eyes finally cracked, she saw a woman of small, yet strong stature, staring back at her. This young woman she saw before her resembled someone who had been chewed up and spat out by life’s cruel antics. She could see a woman of whole proportion and yet she felt as if only half of herself were truly there. Anger and disappointment caused a single tear to well up and spill of the rim of her eye. As she wiped the salty tear away, she vowed she would become the person she was meant to be in this world, without the influence of anyone or anything.
Harnessing all the beauty this world has to offer maybe be a challenge. But I am more than willing to take on that challenge. There may be a lot of bad that is thrown at us, but that bad always seems to be laced with a little good.
How can you not look at all the wreckage and carnage without hoping for something better to come of it? What about the miraculous scenery the earth bestows upon us? When you look into the ocean, do you not feel like there is something bigger out there? What about the colors in the sky as day time begins to rest? Don’t they make you see the world in a different view? I want to see all that is out there. Whether on home or foreign soil, I want to capture every little bit of the good and hold onto it forever. I feel too deeply about life to just let the negativity squander my views. It may not be easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. I hope I can gaze upon very grain of sand, make a wish on every dandelion in my path, and feel all of God’s power with every storm.