I know I promised you all kinds of things: Part 2, a list, posts full of details and whimsy, but here I am, in the middle of things and all I want to tell you about is the hour that I spent on the California coastline this weekend. All I want to do is hit pause. All I want to do is linger.
So that I can remember the way the ocean sounded. The way it felt like coming home, and how that feeling hit me so hard it almost took my breath away.
I haven’t seen the Pacific since my father was alive. I haven’t been back there, to that familiar geography of rolling hills and gnarled cypress since he died. And oh, how that feeling pummeld me. The bittersweet of grief and longing, of memory and utter joy.
Standing there on the sandy beach with the cuffs of my jeans rolled up, ankle deep in the cold tide, I found myself inhabiting the memory of my twenty-one year old self.
I didn’t know my father was dying.
I’d just barely met the man I would marry.
I couldn’t imagine the children I’d conceive. These boys that I have now.
I hadn’t even claimed the word writer as my own.
Let alone heard the phrase brand strategy. Blogs didn’t exist. Social media wasn’t even a term. Google had just barely made the scene. People used Hotmail and still picked up the phone.
I was a girl with salt tangled hair, who felt like her heart would just bust open from the sheer wild joy of the waves.
And here I was now: 33, turning 34 in a matter of days. Inhabiting that feeling. Those memories. That ache, that loss, that progress.
It was cleansing, and devastating and wildly, utterly gorgeous. The light. The waves. The sand. The sky.
I picked up a small handful of treasures: a tiny wing-shaped shell, a bit of driftwood, a gull feather. And then I looked and shut my eyes and listened, until who I was and who I am became the same. Christened there, in the sea foam, before I turned to go.