we spent all day on the beach in spite of the heat. from eleven to four in the almost unbearable heat of the day, we danced across the scorching sand between our chairs and our little shade tent and the glorious perfection of the ocean. when we woke this morning and ate our breakfast and made our plan to go, i guess i thought it would be cooler on the beach, and that there would be a breeze. i know i thought i don't want to waste a minute of our time here. i'm not sure what i thought about bringing the dog, but we did.
it was so hot after lunch that i walked right into the ocean still finishing the last bites of my saucy tofu burrito, and the water was paradise. i could have floated there all day - if i'd had a way to float and read.
i finished three books this last week, which makes four books total in 2013. it's embarassing to admit, but i hadn't been reading much before this vacation - i've always been a reader, but lately i've busied myself with other things, avoiding books almost entirely. this week reminds me how much i've missed.
i finished this novel (borrowed from my mother's bookshelf months ago) in the wee hours of tuesday morning - it was the kind of compelling story i couldn't put down. on wednesday and thursday i read this memoir, which my mother had given me not long after my gradmother died - i think i was afraid that to read it would make me unbearably sad, but really it made me think about life and love and family and who i want to be in the world (and it included a great book list). and this memoir (also from my mother, in the end) i finished just tonight - it appeared and appeared in my life over the course of may and june in the way that my friend sarah calls a "breadcrumb" which is another way of saying that something is a little (or not so little) message from the universe. i sailed through those three books, more than once hearing myself say those words i dread hearing from my children: just let me finish this page, or this chapter, or no really, i'll be there in a minute, i'm almost finished. the second and third books - the memoirs - were really perfect to read together, one a picture of family the other a picture of longing, both pictures of love and loss and finding one's way again.
tomorrow, i have a few chapters left in this - started in early january and left sitting for months - and then i'll be through with the four books i brought with me, the stack that seemed overly ambitious and slightly inappropriate as i was packing. (though not as inappropriate as the five pair of shoes i packed, all five of which i have - thankfully - worn and enjoyed since we've been here.) luckily, this town has a fabulous used bookstore, and i have a poncho to finish.
tonight we went back to the beach after showers and dinner to watch the sun set. the parking lot was full and the beach was crowded and there were plenty of people still in the water. there was a pop up sculpture studio on the beach, the work of artist angela rose, who talked about creating space where there is none and about the intersection of artist and art and audience. lucy and i explored there for a bit after the sun dipped below the horizon, but the mosquitos and the biting flies were intense and i had the last forty pages to finish.
we watched the fireworks from a tiny spit of beach - a small boat launch, really - and some nice person's deck right there. dave said to lucy and no one else in particular, "you can't stand on the deck because that's somebody's house," and a woman - not the woman wearing the flag jacket, but maybe it was her companion? - replied out of nowhere, "it's my house and you can absolutely stand on the deck." so lucy and i did. there were mosquitos, but it didn't matter.
on the way home, bennett and i talked about this one life we get. about how it's short and it's fragile and we wondered whether it makes sense to live carefully or to live with abandon. i had just finished this book, so it was easy for me to be right there.