I sit safe and protected on the porch of the inn I have been visiting for a weekend every few years for the past forty-five summers.
In my wicker chair near a glass-topped white wicker table, I have a view of the ocean not even a city block away.
"Would you like to leave a day early?" asks my host since it will most likely rain all day. Quite the contrary. I love the summer rain.
As a child not one mile from where I now sit, I spent every summer at the Jersey shore. We children walked barefoot in the puddles after the rain, played "knuckles" on the porch, or "jacks." A community jig-saw puzzle was often on the table. Not only our family, but the several families who rented rooms in the large roomy houses added at least one piece to the puzzle each time they passed by.
As I sit and watch, nature is expressing my protesting, raging feelings, just as yesterday the hot sun blanketed me in peaceful, quiet restfulness. As I mourn the last past phase of my life and before entering the new, yet to be discovered next stage, I observe the world and the people around me. I choose to interact very little and quite shallowly with the other guests at the inn. My interests are inward as I reminisce about my childhood experiences at the shore and the many happy memories of spending the summers with my children and their father at the beach.
The families I see today are together on the beach with men caring for young children as well as women. They wheel large aluminum-pole framed mesh bags into which the umbrella, the pails and shovels and the blankets are packed and onto which the chairs are hung.In my day, we mothers carried all of the equipment or pulled little red wagons or pushed old strollers. We made a semi-circle of our beach chairs and watched our youngsters frolicking at the water's edge as many did handwork, knitting or crocheting. The men arrived for the weekends and fished, listened to the radio broadcasted baseball games and took the children "deep" into the ocean.