Ever since I was a child, the beach has been my happy place. As I’ve grown older, it’s become more than that. It’s my place to take a breath. To reset. To reconnect with me.
I could easily sit all day, luxuriating in this sensory world. Listening to the waves. Inhaling the salty air. Sinking my toes into the warm sand.
On lucky occasions, I did, photographing the birds as the sun painted the sky different shades of splendiferous.
You see, while I grew up in south Jersey – only an hour away from the shore – now I live 5 hours away in PA. Again, not usually a huge problem until…
Enter the pandemic.
Like most, we worked to find a new normal, while keeping our loved ones – and ourselves – safe. While we used to travel (mostly for work) on a weekly basis, we’ve become homebodies. My husband and I learned to conduct workshops and school visits via Zoom. We formed a ‘quaranteam’ so we could see our (grown) sons and their girlfriends. We played games and put together a ton of puzzles.
To feed my body, I learned new recipes. To feed my soul, I took illustration classes. But as spring blossomed into summer, the walls began closing in. My heart ached for the beach.
“Can’t we just squeeze in one teensy trip?” my heart begged.
“Sorry,” my brain answered. “We are in a pandemic and can’t travel.”
Then, one day while on a walk, my heart noticed a nature trail and began thrumming.
Immediately, my brain launched into a full dissertation on the issues of tics, snakes, mountain lions…
“Sorry,” my heart quipped in a tone that dripped of sarcasm. “We’re going in.”
And we did.
Even my brain had to admit it was glorious. Listening to the bird calls. Inhaling the fragrant air.
Watching the colors flutter by.
We’ve been back almost every day since, watching the seasons paint the leaves a different shade of splendiferous.
No, it’s not the beach. But it is spectacular. It’s a new place for me to take a breath. To reset. And yes, to connect to me.
What new path will you find today?