Sometimes I forget where I am. I get so busy, have so much fun, work so hard, go to so many movies and lectures and book groups and you-name-it, that I forget to remember what brought me here in the first place.
The sea, of course. The vast, empty beaches in winter, where you can walk for what seems like forever, with only the roar of the waves (they really do roar in winter) for your companion, and the only thoughts in your head the ones your imagination can dream up.
I learned that two decades ago when I came here to write my first Vineyard novel. Back then, a solitary walk on the beach helped de-stress my mind, helped set my imagination free. I “met” new friends like Jill, Rita, and Ben—I imagined their lives lived on an island, removed from the world and yet not. Over time, I met dozens of new friends while I strolled on the sand: Liz, Will, and BeBe; Jess, Richard, and Ginny; Mary Beth, Nikki, and Gabrielle. Some politicians, some trust fund babies, some just plain people, like me.
Yesterday, it was almost 50 degrees here. (Nice change from last weekend’s blizzard that limited visibility to your hand in front of your face.) I knew it would be a fine day for beach walking.
I went to South Beach, climbed over a sand dune (it used to be easier to do that), and there it was: the forever-stretch of barren beach, the gray, roaring waves, the tide either coming or going—I’ve never been sure how to tell which way was which. Sort of like life, I guess.
A long time ago, the great Olympic gymnast and wonderful friend, Tim Daggett, said, “If someone tells you they don’t have a dream, you’d better check their pulse.” I moved closer to the water and checked mine. Surprisingly, it was still going strong.
I breathed. I smelled the sea air. And I let myself feel open, once again, to all possibilities, to anything I could imagine. I looked far to my left, far to my right. I saw no one, but I started to walk. As you can see by the photo, I wasn’t the only one who’d been there. Apparently lots of people—perhaps some real, perhaps some imagined—had thought it was a good day for dreaming, too.
Advice of the day: Find your own kind of beach. Then watch the magic happen.