Things I have seen, or heard, while pondering life at the coast, or life in general, these last few days –
*Dogs. More dogs than I’ve counted in my own neighborhood in years. Folks love to bring their dogs to the beach, and quite frankly, I think the dogs love it too.
*Pajama clad neighboring cabin dwellers, up at 6:30 AM, barefoot and walking on oyster shell pathways trying to find their version of a dog who is not leashed, (as required) and who has scampered off into the underbrush.
*Construction. So much change is happening in this (no longer) little community. Empty lots are no longer empty. Green space is quickly becoming a town center. Trees are coming down and million dollar homes are going up on the last remaining cliff overlooking the sea. That bluff you see used to be dense forest.
An entire new district, more farmish than coastal, is being cleared of old-growth timber to the north of this picture. It will contain more of those million dollar homes and even a farm-house inspired inn. I could never afford a home here. I suspect many others cannot as well, which is why most of the houses are rentals year round. Feeling nostalgic while seeing all this change led me to the realization that I liked this place better when it was small and unknown.
*Overpriced merchandise. Because everyone needs a $25 glitter-encrusted starfish, and a $35 “Coastal Breeze” reed diffuser, and a $64 distressed look box filled with pure white sand holding pillar candles that aren’t really for burning for their $299,000 beach cabin. Okay, I know I sound snarky, and maybe even a bit jealous, with these last two comments. I don’t care what your home costs actually, or where it may be located even. Sixty-four dollars for a wooden box you could likely find in your garage is pretty ridiculous.
*Wind. Everything from a gentle breeze that makes the leaves on the saplings flutter, to lofting currents that carry all manner of bird life through the sky, to gusts so strong I wonder about the stability of the timber behind my cabin.
*Conversations. I have my windows open, or I sit out front in the Adirondack chair and listen. Snippets float by from nearby cabins and even from the roadway, carried on the wind.
- A group with their dogs, talking to a newcomer -“We’re at 10, no actually 13 right now but come over…”
- “Do you have any outside seating, or a fire pit”
- From a mom “I bet the beach will be beautiful today,” to her rather disinterested daughter. “Uh huh,” comes the only reply.
- “The store is closed right now.” The whine of a child who may not have had enough sleep complaining, “But Franklin needs that toy…”
- “I told you to sit on the bench and wait…” from the frustrated mom who is trying to wrangle kids into and out of the toy store.
*Steps away I see sand, and ocean waves that I hear roar. The sound carries all the way to my cabin and is as constant as each breath that I take.
*Bikes. Some brought in with families, but most rented here. Not mountain bikes, but oldie-timey Schwinn bikes like these that clank and rattle and are painted in rainbow sherbet colors. Many of the rental homes provide them as amenities.
*Neighbors. Clearly unconcerned neighbors, silent at 10:30 PM, marking quiet time for the community, but uncaring that their bathroom window is directly opposite one of my windows. I begin to see consistent lights go on and off every few minutes. The lights are on for 30 seconds to a minute, then there’s a break, then the light illuminates my window again. I know what’s on the other side of my window, yet I decide to peep out through the closed slats of my blinds. The top 2/3 of a head clearly visible. Wearing a knit cap, this person is seated on their toilet. Two more times the light turns on and off. The fourth time I peep again. A male, standing facing what I know to be the wall because their cabin is exactly like mine. His head bent down. One can only assume from this point on what he may be contemplating as he empties his bladder before bed. The lights stop. Their cabin finally dark. I chuckle and go to bed.
*Silence. This may seem impossible with some of the sounds I have described already, however this silence is the type that comes with no traffic noise. No car engines speeding a car past. Just long moments of silence broken only by the call of a bird or the wind rustling my blinds. Even the tick of the clock on my wall doesn’t interfere with the silence, but only settles into the comfortable background noise of life.
This place that I am calling home for a few days is not grand. In fact, it smelled a bit like a wet dog when I arrived as it is one of the pet friendly homes here. It is different though. These are not my regular walls. The furnishings here are not what I would pick. They are comfortable, even slightly worn as this cabin has been here for five years. It isn’t my home, but that is what I need and why, I believe, I have lived relatively pain free since Thursday when I arrived. Perhaps coincidence…perhaps a clear message that I keep choosing to ignore, but all that neck pain always blamed on arthritis just disappeared as I drove west toward this place.
I have sat in positions that would bring me to tears if I was home. I have hopped easily from hard chairs to soft couches, used pillows or not, slouched or sat erect. I have worn my glasses and put my head in both bent or upward facing positions over and over. I can’t do this at home. There is always ‘that spot’ that my head must find to see with my bifocals if I want to read. At home it is almost impossible to remain in that position for long. Here, I think I could stand on my head and acknowledge clearly that something has changed.
I have a pretty good idea what that change is about and I suppose the real test will come when I return home tomorrow. For now, I plan to enjoy the rest of this day, and evening and my last few hours in the morning. Anything after that will just have to be dealt with in time.