The ocean takes us all. Takes us out of our regular spots in our regular days. Takes us away from home. Takes us into a rhythm that deserves the word, "rhythm," filling our ears and remaking our lives.
When I say, "we're beach people," I mean something different than perhaps you know. I mean, "we're people of the tides, of the sand and the waves and the flotsam and jetsam, of the storms and the winds and the awesome intensity of an ocean of unimaginable size." We do not lie on sunny sand strip with books and boomboxes. We dig, we run, we pull it into our fists like a baby's finger.
The boys discover the room I loved and take it over, claiming spots on beds under slanted eaves, setting up for each of the a desk. Only Everett uses his; the others crowd around and watch him play a game and then rush, run, up and down the stairs, sliding and climbing down and up the banister, jumping off the railings kamikaze. This house is solid, imperturbable, impenetrable. We let them.
What do we do with this spring break? We watch the waves and listen, we run and stand still, we dig holes and burrow our legs under all these tiny grains of what once was stone. We hunt half-shells and bits of rope from Japan. It is the time when everything, we're sure, comes from Japan. And Monroe asks, can we see China yet in the bottom of our hole?
We eat fish and vegetables in a restaurant sprayed by salt and surf. We walk through a tunnel in a cliff. We let the boys toast over and over, to a great meal, to the delicious shrimp, to arugula, to family.
One night I stay up very late, reading a book I have brought with me. In the book the mother and the father have gone, died in brief time before the first page takes off. I am lying in the bed next to my own sleeping boys and the surf sounds are crashing quietly, rhythmically, always quietly and rhythmically unless they are ear-shatteringly loud and rhythmically, behind the window near the bed. I read the whole book in a rush, and when I finish I can hear the waves again. They have not stopped this whole time but I have not heard them, the words filled my head.
I get out of bed and take my computer and write, closing and opening, letting in the words again, hushing the waves. When I have finished it is almost 3 a.m. and once again I can hear the waves break over my conscious, break into me, and I am astounded at how they can be there and not present, how wholly these words take me over, and I let myself think, "break, break, break, on thy cold grey stones, oh Sea!--"
And like the waves rising and falling, like the sun breaking through the clouds, like the rhythm and arrhythm of the world outside the window, I open and close my mind to the words/to the world and I fall asleep to the open and close, rise and fall of spring break.