there is something profoundly striking about a beach that has been newly combed. so fresh. so ordered. so manicured. absolutely stunning in its no-foot-has-stepped-here-ness. it is simple in its pristine beauty and can make you just sit and stare.
i have always loved the beach. crab meadow was my growing-up favorite. i could ride my bike there and, later, drive my little blue vw there. it was there that joe-z yelled at me for going too slow on waterside road. it was there, off-shore, that crunch and i fished in the middle of the night. i took long walks with my dog missi there. i spent many hours listening to AM radio under a hot sun on a big beach blanket with susan. i played frisbee with robin and, years later, making a pilgrimage back to the island, skipped stones with chris. about twenty years ago, many high school friends gathered at the new restaurant on the beach. about ten years ago or so, i returned to that restaurant for dinner, drinking in the familiar smell and sounds of that beach at low tide. many times i climbed the fence before sunrise to take sunrise pictures. many times i walked for hours on that beach – winter, spring, fall and yes, the obvious, summer. i thought on that beach. i watched seagulls on that beach. i wrote on that beach. i pondered and wallowed and figured out a lot of life on that beach. but i don’t remember crab meadow beach ever looking so neat and tidy. it was full of rocks and pebbles, seaweed and horseshoe crab shells, typical of a north shore long island beach. yet it spoke to me for years and years. and, were i to go there right now, i suspect would still speak to me.
and now, i sit on the side of lake michigan and stare at this beautiful crisply renewed shoreline. it’s totally different than crab meadow. and, it’s a different time. and this beach? it appeals to me too. years ago, when i moved here, i was surprised at how many seagulls were here. these gorgeous stripes of sky and water and sand speak to me. even manicured. hmmm…especially manicured.
i don’t think anyone would describe me as manicured. ever. ok, well, maybe during my employ at the state attorney’s office in florida. i had this amazing boss named debbie whose style was flowing and just really lovely. and so, it was probably during that period of my life that i came the closest to ann taylor suits and accessorized scarves, with etienne aigner pumps that exposed the ever-important toe cleavage. but since then? there have been a real variety of clothing styles, most all falling under the headings of blue jeans, black shirts and boots or flipflops. back in high school my incredible english teacher andrea wore bandanas in her hair and peace sign pendants. she inspired us to embrace being sensitive and aware and to write poetry. she inspired us to be alive.
i think i am more andrea than debbie. i think i am more crab meadow than lake michigan. most of the time i paint my own toenails. and sometimes i don’t blow dry my hair. as an artist, my life is not pristine or ordered; as a human, my life is not neat and tidy.
but every now and then, i love to sit and stare at a pristine, ordered, neat and tidy beach that is waiting for the gorgeous disorderliness to come.