We recently got back from visiting my family near Raleigh, North Carolina. Even though it is winter, I have been longing to see the ocean so we made a weekend excursion to the coast. It was extra special as this was Roland’s very first trip to the ocean. I was excited too, but it wasn’t until I was walking along the beach on our first evening there that I did the math in my head and realized it had been 10 years since I had visited the Pacific Ocean and even longer for the Atlantic.
How could this be? I mean, I grew up in Miami! But, ever since then we have lived in pretty land- locked places (interior Alaska, Vermont, Idaho, Minnesota, and now Nevada). We have spent plenty of time near rivers and lakes, including Lake Superior, but sadly it has been a decade since I have experienced the grandeur of an ocean.
With that said, we had a great time. It was the off- season so we were able to share the beaches with a tolerable amount of people. One nice thing about taking a multi- generational family trip to the beach is that it is large and flexible enough to appeal to just about everyone- all ages, interests, and energy levels. Roland had a blast running from the waves (although not quite fast enough as he got soaked in the chilly water). Matt played in the water with Roland while I enjoyed scanning the sand for shells. All the adults alternated between chatting with each other and taking solitary strolls along the beach, just soaking it all in. Doing fun things together as a family creates bonds that can withstand years apart.
I know it has been said a million times, but there is just something so special about the ocean. The combination of endless sky, fresh breeze, and the rhythmic crashing of the waves creates the most rejuvenating and calming setting.
It is the most pleasant case of sensory overload and it is so easy to lose yourself in it all- listening to the birds and waves, feeling torn between searching for the pretty sea shells scattered over the sand and watching the waves roll up on shore, feeling the breeze on your face and the soft sand under your feet. The views go on forever and it all feels so big and open and free.
The ocean is probably one of the best balms that God has given us to soothe so many ailments: anxiety, grief, stress, boredom, sluggishness, depression. Pretty much anywhere in nature will help with those things, but like I said before, there is something special about the ocean.
One morning we took a detour from the beach and visited the nearby Fort Fisher. We toured the historic fort area and then took a pleasant walk on a boardwalk through the coastal grasses adjacent to the water.
I loved the twisted branches on these trees. I don’t know what kind of tree they were, but they sure looked interesting.
Roland is ever- ready to get back to the water. He had so much fun he didn’t even mind his shoes and clothes being drenched in cold ocean water. (I did not anticipate the mild weather so I didn’t pack appropriate beach clothing).
I really do enjoy and feel at home in the Southwest. The stillness and quiet of the deserts, rocks, and mountains are peaceful. However, the constant motion of the waves gives off an energy that is so refreshing and mesmerizing. It was definitely a nice change of pace. We all agree that a visit to the ocean should occur more than once a decade.
“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.”