I love the way the vegetation changes as you near the shore. How it becomes lush, and dense and deep mixed with sandy soil, you just know your destination is right around the bend. Whether it's the scrub oak of Nantucket, the tall grassy mounds of Martha's Vineyard, or the Loblolly pines of the Chesapeake Bay, that visual marker makes my heart beat a little faster; makes me hold each breath slightly longer.
We had to visit the beach one last time before summer ends. The glow of the blazing sun, the sound of someone playing Bob Marley nearby, the scent of a charcoal grill, and a horizon dashed with stripey umbrellas -- you don't get that experience in other seasons.
The kids have grown in this place. Finding sharks teeth and spotting jelly fish of all sizes brought them closer to understanding marine life than any trip to the Aquarium ever did. A boy who, in June, was afraid to near the water, now (with the aid of his thrifted excavator) is able to cool himself, letting the tide lap over his legs with mixed reservation and delight. Remarkable how introducing a bit of molded plastic made everyone's days happier.
A stop on the small, and surprisingly already quiet boardwalk for a double scoop of strawberry at The Dairy Freeze was in order. "I bet it's vewy code in where." said Marty, and he was surprised to learn that, in fact, it wasn't like walking into a freezer. Hilarious!
I actually spoke the words "farewell beach." As we drove away. I don't think it sunk in with the kids until that moment that this was it for these day trips. "Couldn't we come in the evening's after school?" they requested. But I know it's just far enough and we're just busy enough those days for that to be realistic. I feel good. Satisfied. Now that I've said my goodbyes. I'm ready. Ready for all that's ahead.