Number 4 you ask, what were 1, 2 & 3? I've been all over the place since August 16th, rarely at home for longer than a week. First I drove my eldest down to Chapel Hill...what was supposed to be a leisurely 7 or 8 hour journey with a lunch stop in Annapolis, turned into 11 hours detouring down the Eastern Shore and across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Norfolk because the bridge at Annapolis was shut down due to an accident. Of course we did manage to find a great Latin restaurant in Easton MD...Billy and I will always find a good place to eat! We established him in his first apartment (in the US) and then I returned home, only to leave two days later to take my younger son back to college and into his first (and hopefully only) off campus house. After returning home for a week and half, there was a quick trip to the beach for a night and now I'm back at the shore again.
So this morning I walked the beach. Now that schools have started, the beach was deserted at 8:30 in the morning. As I walked I thought of my dad, who would stop and examine shell after shell. I have difficulty keeping myself focused on the walk and not picking up shells as I go. As I walked, with the rumble of the waves and the shrieks of the seagulls to keep me company, I observed the detritus of the ocean...shells of all types: clams, oyster, mussels, scallops, conch...some pristine, many worn away. There were various crab fragments: sand crabs, horseshoe and blue crab. And disturbingly there were shards of glass; not the picturesque sea-worn sea glass, but scattered chunks of freshly broken glass The beach had a smattering of jellyfish, pancake sized. Not enough to make walking difficult but enough that I had to stay focused on my steps. And then there was the foot prints...tennis shoe imprints in determined lines, a few barefoot tracks and the light imprints of the birds, going willy-nilly in chaotic patterns across the sand. The focus on my steps and what I was observing was almost yoga-like in that it took me out of myself, concentrating only on what was in front of me.
On the first half of the trek I followed in the wake of another walker. We kept the same pace but every once and a while I would draw a little closer and I felt an almost awkward force field...how close do you get before you feel like a stalker? So I backed off. I started getting warm so I walked through the tidepools to cool off, kicking up the water as I walked, feeling like Christopher Robin in the Hundred Acre Wood playing in puddles.
On the walk up the beach, it was clear. I could see at least a mile or two up to the pier. I turned around to return home and half way back I looked behind me and I felt as if I was in a Game of Thrones episode. A bank of fog was following me down the beach and eventually swallowed me up. I could barely see up the dunes as I made my way off the beach...