Not everyone enjoys the beach. My husband and I are fans, but my son would rather admire it from a distance, preferable from a café table. I have relatives and friends who can appreciate the view, but hate the heat and the grit of experiencing it up close.
After working a tradeshow in Florida last week, my husband and son flew down to join me for a long weekend off, and a chance to visit with my brother-in-law who lives just a few short blocks from the ocean. In my son’s lifetime, this has been generally an annual journey – a sojourn of sorts to take a break from northern winters.
My hubby and I especially like to take morning walks on the beach. Shortly after the sun is up, it is more peaceful than mid-day. Before the families venture out for a day of sun, surf and sandcastles, before the kids hit the waves with their boogie boards, and before the teens crank their tunes and toss frisbees, the beach is quiet. The hotel workers hose off the decks and pool areas, washing away the previous night’s party remnants. The umbrella vendor starts to set up his stand and rakes the seaweed from preferred perches. We pass a couple beachcombers and exercisers, and watch the little sandpipers zipping along in front of the waves grabbing bits of plankton for breakfast.
And the ocean keeps doing what it always does. It is as if that great expanse of water, with the waves coming to shore, says “well hello puny human, nice of you to visit again.” That surf never stops, no matter what we have going on in our little worlds. And each morning, the waves will still be there, wiping the sand clean, obliterating our footprints. It is like a rinse cycle, giving us another fresh start.
The bride and groom who had their reception on the beach last night are now starting a new phase in their lives. The child with his sand castle bucket has a new blank canvas to create on, and new adventures awaiting him. The fisherman has a new spot on the beach and new chance to bring in a prize catch.
Walking along this morning, I wondered how often any of us real women let ourselves go through a rinse cycle? We spend far too much time carrying around stuff from the past, even from the previous day, never feeling quite done with whatever we are trying to accomplish…. And at the same time we are worrying about the future, about what is next, what awaits us down the road, about what our next steps need to be. When do we take that quiet time to regroup? To stop mulling over what was and obsessing about what will be, and just breathe and start fresh? To look at the horizon instead of focusing on the grains of sand stuck to our feet?
We are all familiar with the instructions found on most shampoo bottles, informing us that we should “rinse and repeat”. Instead, I think more of us need to “rinse and reset.”
Then we’ll be more ready to dive in.