After seeing my lovely therapist this morning, I decided that what I needed more than anything in the entire world was to go to the beach.
I just didn’t care that it was January and 31 degrees with a windchill that made it feel much colder. I knew and didn’t care that the wind off the water would probably not be pleasant. I didn’t even care when I arrived at the edge of the boardwalk at Ocean Beach and saw that there was a fence blocking access to the beach and the water.
Do authorities of some sort actually care that people go out onto the beach in the winter? Seriously? What kind of world would that be?
I didn’t care. Fences and doors and locks are just polite suggestions to stay out.
I wasn’t feeling polite, so I went past the fence and down to the water.
My twenty-minute face freezing walk on the beach was worth any possible trouble.
The only souls on the beach with me were the seagulls and crabs, and the presence of their souls is questionable.
I had never been to the beach in the winter before this morning and have never had such a huge expanse of sand and water and sun and sky all to myself.
It was glorious. It was breathtaking. It literally brought me to tears – though that also could have been uncontrollable weeping from the freezing wind.
There’s this old saying, I don’t know where it comes from, but it goes something like this:
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.
I believe that.
I put more belief in that than I do into most things.
When I’m angry, hurt, scared, confused, or in any way not right with myself or the world, this is where I go.
When I’m standing near the water I’m standing next to peace.
It reminds me that I need to be better to myself.
Go more directly, and with more urgency, toward the things in life that bring me fulfillment and peace.
Which is to say, the things that make me happy.
Which makes me question always, is my happiness really the most important thing?
Is it a ridiculous thing to wish for and strive for when there are so many things to worry about and put my energy into other than my personal happiness?
I don’t know.
So I go to the beach alone in the middle of the winter to question my entire existence and of course, just for a second, imagine swimming into the water and never swimming back.
It’s not always a pretty picture, but it’s me.