I was born in Virginia Beach, but eventually moved 30 minutes away. That may not seem like a far distance, but to someone who feels most home at the beach, it’s unbelievably far. The distance seems to be ever growing like the vast universe that never stops expanding. As a kid I spent most of my time at the beach just watching the world unfold along the coast. The sand crabs would scamper from hole to hole and the dolphins would breach the water ever so slightly so that you knew that they were there, watching after you. Seagulls would glide inches from the water seeming to catch the enlarging curling wave just before you did. There was something about the coarse, warm sand under my feet and the slow whizzing salty breeze that just settled every problem I could ever imagine as if it were some sort of medication. The way the salt water tastes is unpleasant to most but I welcome it as a reminder of the sharpness of the ocean. The smell of sunscreen left on your skin even after you’ve left beckons for your prompt return.
This place of freedom had the most beautiful nights. Although the light had gone away the calming noise of foamy whitewash did not, it was constant, something that will never stop. The moon illuminated the dark blue water just under it like a spotlight. The only things visible were the bright fires up and down the beach that resembled fallen stars that were now giving light to a few friends trying to squeeze a couple more minutes out of this beautiful place. As I grew from my adolescence so did the distance to my sanctuary. With age comes more responsibility and more stresses that only the beach can alleviate. It’s a good thing that the tides and the waves and the beach are constant, even if they might change slightly, because I’ll always need this place. I’ll always need the warm sand, the small critters, the friends and family, the sound of the waves and the memories.