If I could zoom through space in the speed of light, I would go to the beach. How clichéd is that? But I grew up on the coast of Southeastern Connecticut and loved to take long walks along the beach at anytime of the year.
If I could be transported to any beach in the world, I would go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Rodanthe to be specific. The beaches there don’t have the beautiful aqua-colored waters of Gulf of Mexico or beaches in the Southern Hemisphere, but they do have beautiful waves, the big open view of the sky, and the peace that comes with the sounds of the rhythmic crashing waves.
I picture myself sitting on the beach, it is hot and there is a soft cooling breeze blowing against my skin. I am sitting next to my sweetheart, with my toes dug deeply into the warm sand. It is late afternoon and I am looking out over the waves of the Atlantic scanning the waters for the group of dolphins who swim up and down the coast each day at sunrise and sunset. I don’t know what it is about seeing these dolphins that brings me a sense of inexplicable joy and wonderment. I feel like a child who is seeing a wild animal for the first time. I am awed by their agility, their ease, and the seemingly ever-present smile on their faces. It gives me sense of peace. And when I don’t see them, I worry that something is wrong, that they are sick, or caught in a fishing net, or have moved to another area altogether.
Sitting on the beach, with the sun warming my skin, mixed with the smells of the salt water, the sand, and the suntan lotions, makes me feel like anything is possible. It’s difficult to explain the sense of peace, the sense of possibility, the sense of promise that the vast openness of this expanse brings to me. It reminds me of time, of synchronicity, of history. I look out over the ocean and think about how long it has been there and wonder what it looked like at this site 20 years ago, 200 years ago, 2,000,000 years ago. What creatures were swimming in the Atlantic then? Was there a group of dolphin-kin swimming up and down the coast then too?
Rodanthe holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I wanted a wedding on the beach, but the timing didn’t work out. Instead we were married in the middle of February, in a house with huge picture windows that looked out over the ocean. A huge storm had just blown up the Atlantic Coast and the wind was still stiff and cold. The waves were choppy and furious. It was the middle of winter. But we didn’t care. We were together with our family and we were getting married. Earlier that day we took a long walk on the beach with all of our children in tow. It was cold. The wind was blowing so hard that the sand was being picked up and thrown against our backs. But we didn’t care. When we returned from our walk we went inside to warm up, and sat down in front of the huge windows. We looked out at the waves and saw dolphins. Not just the small group that usually swims up and down the coast, but hundreds of dolphins swimming and jumping and playing and chasing fish. It was a beautiful, romantic, and fantastical sight that I will never forget.