We were walking last night, and I was asked, “What’s your favorite beach you’ve ever been to?”
I thought about it, and had to answer…the one I’m on when I’m asked the question, I suppose.
Right now it’s this one:
I do like them all, though.
When I consider where I could see myself spending the rest of my days, especially once the boys are up and out (I don’t say “retired” because there’s no “retirement” for a writer, and that I see as a good thing)…it’s the beach I see. More precisely, I see myself as one of those wizened, brown women you see striding on the beach in the early morning, firmly and purposefully. She never looks at you, the visitor, the tourist. She doesn’t seem to resent you, but neither does she have much use for you. I don’t know what she does the rest of the day, but in the morning and early evening, she’s out there, striding – or maybe sometimes riding a bike. Sometimes with a dog, sometimes with a cigarette.
Sans cigarette, that’s me, I hope.
I also figure that if I live on or near the beach, my children will always be ready to visit, yes?
Actual visits to the beach sometimes give me pause on that goal, though. That sandy state of life starts to get on my nerves after a bit, and I wonder about the folly of it all – living in a home that might be knocked down tomorrow..to be rebuilt..and knocked around again…and rebuilt. I’m not sensing that many – if any – of the houses around here are the homes of permanent residents – it’s got a more vacation rental feel up and down and all around than some parts of Florida I’ve been to, as well as Maine (which, I hasten to add, holds no temptation for me…I spent every summer there as a child and have spent many days on beaches in southern Maine, and it’s all very nice, because it’s the beach..but that water. Sorry, but Florida and Alabama have spoiled me.)
The residents here don’t seem to live on the beach, but back away from it, more in the direction of the bays and channels – which is probably far more sensible, when you think about it.
Me? Not a boat person, so it’s the beach, not the bays, for me. So yes, it’s crazy and impractical, I imagine, but still. I can’t imagine myself anyplace else when I hit that age when I’ll be alone, yet still able to get around. Here – or somewhere like it – on the deck (after my walk) , a steady breeze, the constant muted sound of the surf reminding me of how big life is, and how it really does go on far beyond what I can see right now.
Fort Morgan – way on the western edge of that strip known as Gulf Shores. We’re in a house, and yes, this week, this is my favorite beach.