Heading North

Busy day preparing, mentally and physically, packing, finishing what needs be done, before loading the car and returning the 350 miles to Harrisburg.

Yesterday, I was at the beach.  The tradition has fallen to this as an annual thing, the shore a place about which I forget entirely, even the feeling of it, the sense of the world ending, until I’m confronted with its visual reality.  Then the need to be in the waves, to be past the shoreline, to experience the other seeming place, to knit the water to the land and extend the world past its end.

All this has, through the rarity of my visits to the shore, wrapped them into existential experiences.  I approach the shore the way some might a meditation cushion.  I don’t mean it to be this way, and if I were to visit more often, were I to go during the regular season so that I’d be elbow to elbow with loud children and their bumptious parents, I’m sure the special sense would fade.

But  yesterday, we were nearly alone.  The ocean and the wind and the sun were constant and for moments I dug, pretending to look for shells,  just to feel the sand and feel the world the way animals do. To exist without judgment, live in an immediate way.  A worm through which passes soil, experiences, unchanged.

And then we drove home.  I slept, occasionally, embarrassing myself for having nodded off, but having little I wanted to say, little I wanted to experience outside myself. 

Now I’m preparing to go.

When I am home there will be no oceanic quiet.  No naked sense of self.  But it is time to return.  The anxiousness of responsibility is already digging under the edges, here, and there’s nothing for it but to return and face its causes. 

Vacations only work so long as you can stay away from yourself as much as you can stay away from home.

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