I was fourteen the when I first sat on this outdated, floral sofa. I diligently worked on tenth-grade trigonometry between trips to the beach and pool. I again sat on this shoreline when I was seventeen, a young and inexperienced mother with a baby who did not like the texture of the sand. I swam these waters in my twenties with three young girls collecting seashells for their magical castle, little fingers placing each conch carefully, innocent imaginations flying a seagull feather as a royal flag. Now, twenty years later, I sit in the same updated, but outdated living room with my five children, my 14-year old daughter works on her iPad building an Engineering Design Report. My two blessedly unexpected toddler sons play hide-and-seek among the many closets. My, how the landscape has changed.
As I walked the Florida coast today, I couldn't help but notice a 60-something that strolled alongside me through the teeming tides. She walked proudly, chin held high, face to the sun, accepting with grace the years she has already surrendered under this sun. These waves have captured her secrets and held them as the years crashed by, and I imagine what stories she whispered in years past. I admire her resilience and timeless beauty and wonder if I will still explore these shores in another twenty years. With new wrinkles and new freckles, with new courage and new grace. With blessed son-in-laws and grandsons and grown sons. What a curious and expansive thought, I am captured between yesterday and tomorrow, watching the light dance upon the water.
There are quieter, cleaner beaches in Florida, this native knows as much, but these Daytona coasts have watched me grow from a girl into a woman. These crashing waves have carried my laughter as my children were carried upon their shoulders, and this sandy sanctuary has caught my tears as time eroded the very shorelines of my life. The sunshine has faithfully poured out its joy and the broad sky has occasionally released some tears of its own and this ocean of kindness has washed the land and washed sandy baby toes and now it washes my soul yet again. No matter how pristine the distant, untouched beaches may be, my history and my reality connect to the chaos and complexity of Daytona. And no matter how confusing this disconnected life becomes, I take comfort knowing that these busy beaches remember me in a timeless space. They danced with me in my younger years and they welcome me into the golden twilight of my sunset years. And they hold all of my secrets.
about the writer.
“Words are only postage stamps delivering the object for you to unwrap” (George Bernard Shaw)