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If we were having coffee: Beach day

The beach crowd.

In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.

~ Rachel Carson

Tree roots. Or, if you have a good imagination, some strange creature walking across the dune. Maybe a cross between a crab and a tortoise.

If we were having coffee, I would be thrilled to see you again.  I’m sorry it’s so late in the evening.  Well, maybe not too sorry.  I have a wonderful excuse for being tardy which I’ll get to as soon as we’re settled.  Come on in!!  Let’s grab something to drink and go out to the deck and look at the stars.  It is quite warm here today, no jacket required.  In fact, I’m in shorts and short sleeves.  As for beverages, we have the usual assortment of coffee, tea, and water.  There are also some excellent adult beverages if you’d rather have a more potent potable.  Wine (red and white), beer, tequila, and bourbon.  I’m sure there are mixers, too, if anyone wants to go wild and make some fancy drinks.

We grilled some fresh fish for dinner and have plenty of leftovers if you’re feeling peckish.  If you don’t like seafood, we have the usual hummus, pita, and veggies.  I really should do something about varying my snack repertoire.  Maybe a black bean dip next week?  What do you think?

Wildflowers blooming in the sand.

It occurs to me that this might be my first post since the calendar switched us from winter to spring.  Happy Spring!  (A Happy Autumn to those of you in the southern hemisphere!)  How are you?  What have you been doing lately?  Have you gone on any adventures, great or small?  Have you traveled anywhere?  Seen anything new?  Learned anything new?  Have you read any good books?  Seen any good films?

CAUTION Beach impassable during periods of high tide. At the entrance to the OSV (Over Sand Vehicle) area on the Maryland side of Assateague Island.

I had to go back to my last coffee share to see what I was reading when we last got together.  Dean Koontz’s novel, Innocence.  It was a good read with some eerily prescient ideas (which some of you picked up on when I posted a quote from the book).  I finished that and have moved on to Jane Smiley’s book A Thousand Acres: A Novel.  I am about halfway through and loving it.  The book was first published in 1991, re-released in 2003, and I found it at a discount store.  I bought it because I’d read Moo way back in the day, also loved it, and thought it was high time I read another book by Jane Smiley (a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist).

I had a burden lift off me that I hadn’t even felt the heaviness of until then, and it was the burden of having to wait and see what was going to happen.

~ Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres 

Looking out at the dunes.

I am also reading When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams.  It’s a wonderful read, and a mystery of sorts.  I’ve quoted from the book several times throughout my blogging career without ever having read it.  You probably recognize this one:

Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

I think that’s one of my favorite quotes and ideas of all time.  Maybe I think that way because I watch the sun come up in the morning and go down in the evening, and I sing my own internal song in hopes of healing the world through joy and love.  My parents might have been on to something when they named me after a bird.  American robins are, after all, songbirds.  Which reminds me, we had a large flock of robins come through here a few days ago.  I believe they were the fattest robins I’ve ever laid eyes on.  They must have been eating well over the winter months.  For those of you who see them as harbingers of spring, it looks like spring will be fat this year.

Hillock at the top of a dune.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that M and I went for our first drive on the beach today.  Assateague Island National Seashore, on the Maryland side, has a long stretch of beach (about 12 miles, I think) where you have to either hike/walk to see it or take a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  They call it the OSV (Over Sand Vehicle) area and you not only need the proper vehicle but you need a whole host of proper equipment (in case you get stuck in the sand and/or need to be towed) as well as a permit.  When M and I were in a car accident last year and our car was totaled, we decided to purchase a 4-wheel drive vehicle that can be used in the OSV area.  We’ve been meaning to give it a try before this, but the timing hasn’t worked out.  Today everything came together and we had a lovely, sandy, beachy adventure.  The ride on the soft sand was a little wild at times, but in a slow-motion kind of way.  The car would wobble and fishtail every now and then, but I think that was due more to the tracks in the sand than the sand itself.  Some of the folks that go out there in higher riding vehicles (Jeeps and pick-up trucks) tend to swerve all over the sand (in a Woo-hoo! way) while going way over the 25 mph speed limit.  It looks like fun, but I’m not sure our vehicle would be up to the challenge.

Bay access road (which we walked after parking near the ocean).

We didn’t go too far.  The OSV entrance is at about km 16.  (Pardon the way I move back and forth between miles and kilometers.  For some reason, the map is in kilometers and I’m used to using miles.)  There’s a PDF map here if you want to follow along.  We parked on the beach, near the ocean (but not too near because, you know, car + ocean waves = disaster) somewhere just past km 22.  It felt like it took forever to get there, probably because I was worrying about all the things that could go wrong.  I do that.  I don’t know why.  Then I try to stop myself from doing that.  I don’t know why.  Then I regain a sense of reason, realize that the worst that could happen is that we would have to be towed off the beach, and I relax.

Hiking to the bay.

After parking, we set off for a walk.  There was a ranger near km 23.4 (Fox Hill) with a group of folks putting up “Keep Off” signs where, I think, the piping plovers  breed (more about that here and even though it’s an old announcement it still holds true) and we asked her if the road nearby was the bay access road.  Happily, it was, and she said it was a nice little walk.  Well, it was a bit longer than we thought/planned, but she was right.  It was a nice walk.  Lots of soft sand and a great workout.  My legs are exhausted this evening.

Walking along, wondering where the bay is.

We could have driven to the bay, but we wanted to hike around a bit.  I was inspired by the backpackers who walked by when we were parked on the beach, and wondered what it would be like to hike all of Assateague Island.  There are backcountry camp sites and compared to hiking the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, I would think this is a piece of cake.  No elevation changes.  Just lots of sand.  Might be worth looking into someday.

Off the beaten path.

Oh gosh, it’s getting late!  Time got away from me this evening.  The sky is clear, the moon is waning, and the stars are plentiful tonight.  Let’s sit out on the deck for a little while longer.  Did you know you can see the Milky Way from here?  We have very little light pollution.  It always boggles my mind that I can see that which we are in the midst of but then I think about how I can see the inside of my house (and all its clutter which, I suppose, could be compared to stars) even though I am in the midst of it and well… there you go and here we are.  In the midst.

Still making our way towards the bay. We’ll get there eventually. Perhaps we’ll meander there on Monday.

Thank you so much for stopping by for a late coffee chat.  I always enjoy your company.  One of these days I’ll explain why I’ve been mostly but not completely absent of late.  In the meantime…  Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Life begins so gently in the springtime.

This post is in response to #WeekendCoffeeShare which now has a new home.  Thank you to Nerd In The Brain for taking on the job of hosting it, and to Diana for starting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

27 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Beach day

    1. That was quite an adventure you had, Dawn! I’ve been following along. I imagine you’ll feel a little of both (happy and sad). That’s usually the way of things after a grand journey. 🙂

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  1. A lovely post, Robin. I love your beach crowd and mythological beast photos at the top. Also, the quote about bird women–it is a wonderful quotation. I birds here are definitely singing their spring songs now just before dawn. You might enjoy Jane Smiley’s recent trilogy that begins with a farm family in Iowa around 1900 and goes to the almost present. (Not up to dt.). 🙂 I really loved the entire trilogy.
    Your day at Assateague sounds wonderful! It was more spring like here, too, yesterday, and we walked around Old City Philadelphia a bit. Then it rained.

    Enjoy your week. I hope all is well.

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    1. Thank you, Merril! I added the books of the trilogy to my reading list (and a few other Jane Smiley books while I was at it; not sure I’ll get to them all, but you never know!).
      Assateague was beautiful, as usual. I think your stroll around Old City sounds great. I can’t remember the last time I was in Philadelphia. I am way overdue for a trip up there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now that is a beach crowd I wouldn’t mind being around. I expect at this time of year you pretty much have the place to yourselves with the wild critters, imaginary wood types or not. 😉
    I hope you are feeling well and your absence has been a healthy one. I heard you were getting summery weather, I’m rather envious. Our winter weather just goes on and on. Mad as a March hare applies to folks around here. 😉 I expect April will bring a change in temps, ushering in the worst month for ticks. Sigh, I guess we must take the bad with the good. So yin/yang.

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 Usually there are not too many people at the beach throughout the winter, but on those warm, sunny days, people come out in droves. They are mostly locals although a few come from the D.C. area.

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  3. Another beautiful post, dear Robin. I was looking at the picture of the tree roots, thinking it definitely has a crab-like look to it!
    Wonderful you are able to drive on the sand. So much fun, I’m sure!
    Thanks for the coffee, the words, the book suggestions and the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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