“We all have places where we feel most at home.”
These are the words under two Adirondack chairs sitting in the sand on a beach, on the stone coasters that adorn our living room tables, and couldn’t possibly better express how I feel about the coast.
Recently a couple who have been our good friends and neighbors for 30 years invited us to go with them on a day-trip for lunch in Monterey and then a visit to the beach in Carmel.
Now understand. I love the shore. East coast, West coast, I don’t care. There is something, some genetic imprint, that calls me to the ocean. And if I don’t pilgrimage there at least 2-3 times a year – matters not, summer or winter – I feel spiritually deprived. If I had the flu and a fever of one hundred and two, and somebody who didn’t care offered to take me, I’d get out of my sick bed and go.
While our lady’s walked the beach, he and I sat on the sand in our chairs, enjoying the breezy, cool salty air under a gray cloud-enshrouded sky, watching the breakers breaking and children and dogs frolicking in the shallows, and we talked mostly about where we live and where we’d rather. We both would rather at the coast. But several reasons prevent both of us, like wanting to be near children and grandchildren, and established jobs, not to mention the obscene housing costs within 50 miles or so of the beach (and realistically, if you can only afford to live where it takes an hours driving to get to, what’s another hour from where we live now much more cheaply?)
We barely spent two hours there after lunch before it was time to head back to the Central Valley, its heat, and the same-o-same-o routine of life.
As we drove away I turned in my seat for one last longing look at the ocean before it disappeared from sight.
We may have been heading home, but I was, again, leaving the place where I feel most at home.