Monday, January 4, 2010

Actually I know winter has just begun but...I start to dream

This was originally written in March 2001, I don't what it is though once January comes, I start dreaming of in-house prep gardening, seedlings, Spring and Summer. I remember this day as if it were yesterday and my children were all so very young then (ages 5, 6, 10). Time flies...this is precisely why we need to appreciate every moment! 

Winter Is Almost Over

I love all of the seasons here in New England. But once the days begin to get a little longer, the snow begins to soften to slush and you see the first sprout, however tiny, of a bulb green emerging from the still cold ground…at that point, I begin to anticipate the arrival of spring.
I was walking our new puppy in the mud and slush this morning and my mind began to wander to the shores of Maine. I skipped right by spring and into summer. Was it the white-blue sky or perhaps the bright sunshine that reminded me of the beach? When the sky is that color over Ogunquit beach, the water is a deep, bright blue, picturesque in its beauty…

… as you walk over the footbridge to get to the beach, you feel the difference in the air temperature immediately. A cool breeze hospitably welcomes you, as it blows the tall sea grass on the dunes of either side of the bridge. It is late afternoon, you smile as you descend the footbridge. This beach, has a way of mesmerizing you with its peace and beauty.

I sit in my beach chair right at the shoreline, the cold Maine water rushes over my feet. As a slight undertow buries my toes in the sand, the saying ‘happy as a clam’ comes to mind. A leaf is slightly embedded in the sand not far from where I sit, it is void of color because the water has washed over it repeatedly. The veins on the leaf enunciate its definition. It looks like a piece of artwork. This reminds me of the pottery that is common in the shops of Kennebunkport, capturing an aspect of nature that can be admired long after the season has ended.

A kite is gliding overhead. A child holds the string with excitement and seriousness, as if driving a car for the first time.

Beach walkers are getting exercise in its purest form: breathing in fresh air, walking at a brisk pace, cooled by the sea breeze. Beachcombers meander by too, in search of
ocean treasures.

A red, two-seater plane flies by, some children wave to the pilot who is barely visible. Did it dip its wing to wave back, or was that my imagination?

A woman walks by with her teenage daughter; they are clearly enjoying this time together. They wear invisible blinders to those around them, breathing in this magical air, lost in their own world.

Boys and girls play for hours on end. Sparkling eyes, sprinkles of freckles on shoulders and noses, high ponytails with wisps of hair gently moving in the breeze, and buzz cuts on boys…timeless beauty. Their laughter is contagious.

A young couple walks hand in hand. They stop and watch the gulls dive for small fish. After a few minutes he whispers something to her, they both laugh and continue on their way, savoring these moments together.

Near the shoreline, artists create sand castles, equipped with moats and towers. They work steadfastly for what seems like hours. The tide comes in too quickly and washes away their creation.

Three older women walk along together. I imagine they have been friends for years. They are smiling, chatting. They’re adding a chapter to their own history.

A middle-aged man stands at chest level in the cold water, feeling the rise and fall of the current. In front of him, the ocean seems to go on forever. He is aware of the rhythm of the sea, meditating in nature, if just for a few moments.

One family is having running races. The cool beach breeze and overcast skies enable them to ignore the warm temperatures and run, a little faster, a little further.

The sun is setting. The sky is pale pink and there is a defining edge to the horizon with the water meeting the sky.

A man comes over the footbridge carrying a metal detector, another treasure seeker.

It is low tide now; an elderly couple approaches the shoreline with fishing gear. They get settled. The woman sits in her chair, book on her lap, and the man slowly prepares himself for fishing. He dons his wading overalls, walks in the water to his waist and casts his rod. He then places the rod in the stand he has buried at the oceans edge. His wife sits silently through his preparations, gazing at him with a faint smile on her face. He ambles back, removes his overalls and sits beside her. Together they watch the line. They chat a bit, the closed book still on her lap. Several minutes later, he walks back to the rod, tugs at it a couple of times and again returns to his chair. He is not serious about the sport of fishing but he is thoroughly enjoying this process. About an hour later, he reels the line in, and he and his wife pack up their gear. With the fishing equipment, the chairs, and the book she never opened, they walk back over the bridge. They are content and satisfied with their outing.

A couple of families begin building a small campfire on the beach. The air smells of wood burning and the salty sea…

..…and then my dog barks, as two squirrels scurry by. Instantly I am back in winter with slush beneath my feet. But winter is almost over.

~cathy collins
The Milton Times, March 1, 2001

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