Sunday, July 26, 2009


Hey, I should've told you all by now that we survived the getaway. No worries. Long trip there, shorter trip back, beautiful weather, and a lovely little inn where we were comfortably housed. Spacious front porches with plenty of rocking chairs, bikes and horse-drawn carriages, sand and surf as far as the eye could see, and a little boy consistently sporting the broadest smile of his life.

One particular small memory will stay with me for some time: I'm sitting under our beach umbrella, comfortable in my low-slung chair, reading a most appropriate title (Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh). The waves are alternately lapping and crashing, other families are set up all around me, gulls are screeching and searching for every available snack, and Todd and my son are out playing in the water. Minutes pass, and I'm half-paying attention, reading a few lines, then gazing out at the water, when I realize that I hear my sweet little boy humming to himself, a tuneless little ditty that he repeats again and again. They must have come in to play in the sand and I didn't even see them, I think to myself.

I look around me, trying to locate my husband and child, following the sound of the innocent little-boy voice as it expresses absolute contentment through music. And then I find the source—and it's not my little guy at all! It's another small boy, not quite as young as mine, and he is sitting near my right side, filling buckets with sand and then dumping them methodically, all the while humming humming humming. His song mingles with the breeze, the gulls, the waves, the melded human voices murmuring and giggling and calling out all around me.

In that moment, I feel so connected to my fellow man. One small boy's song could be another's, one sun-streaked head blends into the rest, our voices form one collective tune as we gather here on the edge of the land to be washed clean and free and unblemished. We're speaking different languages, some are thin while others are fat, we are many different colors and ages and styles. But we've all come essentially for the same reason, seeking respite and renewal. We all are humbled at least somewhat when we stand and surmise the enormous pond before us.

They don't all feel like family—but they sort of are, aren't they?


Facie said...

The feeling of oneness is one of the reasons I like sports. Sure the sight of strangers hugging each other once a TD is scored is not nearly as poetic and sweet as your example, but sports do tend to unite many a fan, regardless of color or size.

Of course sports rarely renew us in the same way the beach can...

Glad you had a nice time. Where did you go?

Mel said...

Cape May, NJ. what a great little town.

sports--yes, I guess you're right. hadn't thought about that aspect, but I'd agree-especially when the team that unites is a) doing great or b) stinking up the place.

chris h. said...

Ooooh, I've always heard good things about Cape May (and sampled many a tasty nonpareil courtesy of Reed). I'll add it to the "someday" list...