On Tuesday, I took a vacation day away from the office, generally a prudent decision when a major patriotic federal holiday falls in the middle of the work week, and I spent the afternoon at a less than secluded national beach reserve in the southern part of the Garden State. My friend Rebecca joined me for a frivolous girlish romp and gossip session, before embarking on an introspective and intense yoga and meditation retreat in upstate New York; for contextual purposes, she is in graduate school at Brown University and her parents are in some sort of spiritual organization, which we bemusingly refer to as a cult. Despite the throngs of families with small children, faces sticky with sucrose popsicle entrails, dashing and scurrying about and kicking sand into the wind and onto our faces, and despite the visions of bulbous sagging flesh in taut bikinis, we had a pleasant and tranquil afternoon. We slowly ate grilled chicken and pesto sandwiches, and we nibbled on kettle-cooked potato chips. As though removed from the seductive tentacles of the ocean currents, the beach had few, temperate waves, a large communal salted bath tub. We went for a brief dip, braving the cold temperatures, the risk of kisses from crabs. Brine and sea silt clung to our bodies, and we dried ourselves in the constant tempestuous wind.
I cannot imagine living further than a few hours drive from a large and seemingly immeasurable body of water; I never have, and do not intend to. Even when extending forth before a spread of countless families toting plastic trinkets and fluorescent umbrellas, of coolers filled with saccharine sodas and cheap cans of cheap beer, the ocean sustains an aura of beautiful mystery. Submerging my body and mind into something so primordial and unknown always makes the return to my mundane cubicle back here at headquarters all the more difficult and cruel.
(image taken from Little Snob Thing)