“Don’t wish me happiness I don’t expect to be happy all the time… It’s gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all.” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Each year I spend my vacation by the sea. On the Cape. Usually by myself. And a dog or two but only Toti Nonna now. She isn’t really considered another person, she’s a phenomenal creature all to herself. And each year I feel as Pablo Neruda does… “It’s well known that he who returns never left”.
I don’t sight see, I eat out less and less, I’ve stopped bringing back souvenirs for everyone, I simply go and exhale. I have rituals and traditions. I drink my coffee on the beach each morning because there is nowhere else it tastes better or cools off to just the right temperature.
We have a routine, our morning walk on the beach, journal writing, photo walks, the farmers market and spending time with friends.
It seems I come by this honestly. My grandmother, my father’s mother insisted that she be taken to the sea at least once a year. She needed the sea air, needed it. I never understood it until it crept into my own life. I must always get back to it. The smell of salt air and cedar are life sustaining to me.
It’s my hope to get back and never leave at some point, I feel that coming closer and closer each time I find it harder and harder to return, even to my beloved Stowe Lane.
For those of you that believe I’m idealizing the Cape, the sea, the way my hair feels and the way my skin turns bronze and the way all my aches and pains disappear even though I’m sleeping in a completely different bed you’re wrong. Your opinions are appreciated but I get it that life goes on wherever one ends up evidenced in the fact that I’ve ended up on Stowe Lane. I get that you arrive with all of your stuff and your work and your imaginings, I’m under no delusions that a place changes things.
My work is becoming more and more solitary, the changes in the industry are taking care of themselves we are no longer that upstart company with an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m no longer interested in being the inherent dowager queen or a formidable force. When I think of the word retirement I know I won’t stop working but I’ll be doing joyous work, teaching, writing, gathering and preserving stories.
The people who so desperately needed me are standing so beautifully on their own, my obligations to others are becoming fewer and fewer and my responsibility to myself is gaining momentum. I am looking ever forward to getting back to the sea for good where I can be that woman in the neighborhood, the gardener, the writer, the teacher, the woman whose home is always wafting the neighborhood with delicious aromas and who can always be counted on for a laugh or a listen. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.”
I am looking forward…