I spent my childhood in a beach town, Winthrop, Massachusetts, and while my house was a half mile as the crow flies or as the boy runs, it might as well have been right outside my door. We were at the beach, on the water, or near the water all the time in the good weather. My house was actually much closer to a salt marsh and inlet called Belle Isle, which I am guessing was hopelessly polluted at the time, but was magical to me nonetheless. In some corners of my mind, I was to the Belle Isle Inlet what Tom Sawyer was to the Mississippi.
I’ve lived just eight something miles from that same beach and that same inlet for most of the last 33 years, but they sometimes feel a continent away. It’s the difference between getting in swim trunks and walking to the beach (or getting there in a few minutes by bike) and organizing myself (and others) to pack up, load up, and drive those miles, park, unpack, schlep, and plop down. We are measured, it seems, by what me must carry to get where we are going and do what we want to do.
Which brings me to Ferry Beach for the second time this summer, and being able to step out of my room, and walk 25 yards to be on the beach. To be sitting here after a walk with the salt smell and cool breeze and sound of the pounding surf surrounding me is profound. I ask myself at such times: how can I organize my life to be at such a place more often? I ask the question every time I find myself here or near any beach really. Why don’t I start answering that question?