The sandpiper and the sea urchin

August 26, 2021

sandpiper and sea urchin
The sandpiper and sea urchin

      You would think a beach getaway would be the occasion when Carol’s active energy would more closely match my own low wattage level of output. At home, you could attach some wires to Carol as she goes about a typical day, and generate enough power to run a dishwasher or washer/dryer combo – machines that seem to run daily anyway. I, on the other hand, best resemble a series of rolling brownouts.

   But at the beach, the idea is to just kick back and watch the tides roll in and out, in a comfortable chair, with a book and a beverage. On paper, Carol might even admit to that sounding pretty good. I enjoy the beach, because it’s the one place I can legitimately vegetate without the pointed, “I’ve been to Costco, Target and Ralph’s, and you haven’t moved off that couch once, have you?” Delivered as an unsealed indictment. (The “sweetie” Carol throws in at the end is simply to separate me from the mass of useless males, but only as an unindicted co-conspirator.)

   But less than an hour or so into my metamorphosis into some species of bi-valve upon arrival at our cottage (Carol having spent that hour unpacking and staging the Schindler List of schlep that arrived with us. I’m not unhelpful; she prefers to unpack alone for the sake of then finding things later when we need them.) But no sooner is the ground mustard and paprika (I know – it’s  a beach vacation, right?) placed where they will live for the next three days, that Carol will join me on the balcony and say, “Ready for our walk?”

   Pacific sunsets, though, are the one universal reason for a beach vacation here. Lift a glass in toast to a pod of dolphins swimming past every now and again, and you realize that sometimes just letting life pass you by is not such a bad philosophy at all.

the beach of the sandpiper and urchin
Nevertheless, not conducive to someone not looking where he’s going

   Now I don’t know what I was thinking when I’d first told Carol how much I looked forward to taking long walks on the beach with her (I must have had the activity confused with a Beach Boys song) because, frankly, the cant of the sand, the seaweed and shells, rocks and the sand itself are not surfaces conducive to one’s not paying attention to where one steps. Plus the scenery doesn’t really change from one end of a beach walk to the other, now does it? Finally, all that sand might wind up back in the cottage and worse, in the bedsheets.

The real reason for a Pacific Ocean beach vacation 

   For me the beach inspires me to enjoy doing nothing even more so than I do at home. Surprisingly, I don’t miss the TV at all and personal hygiene protocols seem to get a break as well. It’s a time when snacks move stealthily to the bottom foundation of the food pyramid.

   Pacific sunsets, though, are the one universal reason for a beach vacation here. Lift a glass in toast to a pod of dolphins swimming past every now and again, and you realize that sometimes just letting life pass you by is not such a bad philosophy at all. A morning rain that cancels a walk on the beach serves to show nature’s wonderful bounty.

   The only disappointment on this particular beach trip (other than Carol forgetting the plastic wrap) was that three days passed without a single nap. That one’s on me.

   I’d planned to pay off the title of this blog with clever coastal insights comparing Carol and me, but I see I’m out of time as well as ideas.

Photo Credit: Carol Madigan

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