Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sand in My Shoes Due to No Self Control

My pointy-toed leather flats are full of sand. My favorite jeans smell like low tide, and pieces of sea glass clinked together in the pocket as I wriggled out of them at the front door. I stepped out of the jeans and glanced back, it looks as though an invisible man followed me into the house and proceeded to obscenely drop trou. Three hours later they're still there. I ate some pizza and I haven't gotten around to washing the dish yet, two hours later. The contents of my suitcase are strewn all over and I'm not really sure what article of clothing my cell phone is under so sorry if I missed your call. But I'm home. I'm home in Cali though I just returned from home in Lincoln. I didn't know a person could have two homes, I thought you only got one at a time. Wrong.

Today I went to my library by the sea after work. After agreeing to a beading-and-pizza date (because pizza is popular with the young folks, as my adorable librarian Connie said) this Thursday, I left with some books on how to write, much to my blog audience's rapture. But once outside, I could smell it. Though I had made an extensive to-do list in my journal to which I knew I should adhere, I bypassed the way home in order to turn down a familiar street and saw it rise up like a wall before me. I parked, rolled up my jeans (little good it does me, I always go in nearly waist deep) and slid down the worn cliff path to the ocean. I always promise myself I'll return to the car somewhat dry; never happens. The water seduced me into immersing my feet then my calves then my knees until my whole body begged for the sun-warmed waves to take all of me.

I collected sand-worn glass bits. I have no idea what makes such innocuous objects so fascinating. I can tell you that as a kid I was clumsy and, as a result, broke a lot of glass. "Mary Margaret, don't EVER touch broken glass!" I resented my mother for not allowing me to pick up the glass with my fingers; if performed slowly, the process of collecting glass shards is a fairly simple and harmless one. I liked how glass looked when broken with no consideration for shape or line. It was beautiful and dangerous. My mother was right, of course, in protecting me, but someday I intend to bring my daughter to the ocean and teach her that there actually is a perfectly acceptable time to pick up broken glass; once the ocean has had its way with it.

When I stood on the shore tonight, when all the surfers were making their way back to their cars, I fixated on the empty expanse of water and felt, for a moment, as if I'd reached the edge of the world and I was the only one in it. It was so peaceful and I felt more aware of my senses than I had in a while. The broken shells and coral bit into my feet, the water glided around my ankles, and the wind lifted my hair effortlessly off my shoulders. I thought at that moment that I was happy to be the last person on earth left only with the ocean but then a small voice said, "Does it feel good?" For a second I thought, "God?" then processed, registered the voice as that of a child, and looked to my left to see a skinny black girl staring at me. She wore a purple bikini, had pig tails, and huge curious eyes. I rifled around in my mind in order to employ some articulate explanation of just how good it felt but produced only a "Yes." She laughed and said "I like the water too but why am I so scared of it?" and kicked some sand at the offending element. I didn't have any idea what to say, I wish I'd said something sage about respecting the ocean without fearing it and shared a very sesame street moment with her but instead, I just took a few steps deeper, put my hands into the air, palms facing her as if to say "See? Not so bad." She laughed and stepped in further too. There was no more interaction and I loved her for her outrageously overenthusiastic cries at each and every found treasure (read broken seashell and algae bit) just like I used to.

I miss Nebraska already, but I'm here in San Diego with my first and greatest love; the ocean.


Benjamin said...

Meg: This is really good.

Lindsey said...

glad you're home. p.s. super good blog. i'd read a book about the ocean if you wrote it.

L the mom said...

Nebraska misses you as well! I am looking forward to seeing you in September, and I am ever so grateful that you read my scribbles. What you do is write, I just think out loud! :-)

Meg Schudel said...

You guys are kind, holy verb tense agreement, Batman! I always have to go in and tweak my past vs. present-tense verbs. Good grief.

Dreama said...

Good words.