By: Lisa Quaraglia, Guest Blogger
Driving through about 15 miles of paved concrete, I couldn’t wait to get to my sanctuary, my own little slice of heaven on earth. The beach. It doesn’t matter where it is, or how crowded it can get, or the population of people that inhabit it, a beach is a beach is a beach. It is sand, water, and sky. It is peace of mind. It’s circadian rhythm at its finest. After bustling my way through rush hour traffic, I finally made it to my destination. With the windows rolled down, the smell of the ocean hits me like a wall of aroma. Salt, shellfish, and sand all penetrate my nostrils, filling me with an irrevocable calm that transports me back to childhood memories of family vacations down on Cape Cod. The pungent alkaloid smell of sunscreen usually doubles this effect; being close to sundown, my SPF 50 has not accompanied me on this trip. I step out of the car and grab my belongings: cell phone? check. Car keys? check. Wristlet filled with my drivers license and extra money (you never know!)? Check. I am ready to go.
As the early fall air snips at my exposed calves, I am reminded that I should grab my light sweatshirt. As I pull the neon orange fleece over my bare arms, I realize how bright I stand out from the rest of the individuals around me, all of them are in black yoga/exercise pants and over-sized sweatshirts. I’m standing there looking like a blindingly bright highlighter. I feel secure in my fashion choice and power forward. Walking along the sidewalk of one of the oldest beaches in New England fills me with gratitude. Any time of the year, I can come to the peaceful calm of the beach. Many December days, I have bundled myself in my winter coat, experienced the ice cold sand between my toes. It is refreshing and exhilarating. As I walk on the beach tonight, I am filled with that same rejuvenation. With my Ipod, I am lost in music. Lost in the waves, crashing onto the shoreline. Lost in watching the over-eager dogs, playing with their owners, as if they know the warm weather is coming to an end, and they will soon be cooped up in the house for six months of New England winter.
As I track the “must-do” list in my head, I realize I am in a particularly unique time in my life. I have a list of things that are inherently, “bad,” or not so much bad, as they are just things that I need to work on, things that aren’t going my way in the moment. Aspects of my life that I wish were different, and it seems as if those aspects overtake a lot of the better ones. Then I switch gears into thinking about all the good in my life: my organizational skills have gotten me to the point where I have a good amount of money saved for bigger, future purchases, like a house or apartment. I have a separate vacation account, in case the need to escape overcomes me, and I find myself hopping on a plane to some unknown land. I have family and friends that I know will stick by me. I have a list of friends I know I can call at a moments notice if I need to talk to someone. And I have myself. I have the peace of mind to know that I know right from wrong. I know that even when I am alone, I have myself and my thoughts to keep me entertained. I have the confidence to be alone, to walk alone.
It was then I noticed something. I was standing on the middle of the beach. With my latest favorite “waking up my soul” song, staring into the big, bright moon to the north, layers of soft pinks, blues, and purples, above the dark abyss of the ocean. Birds flying around. Soft wind blowing against me. And the warmth and comfort of my bright neon fleece reflecting off the darkness of the setting sky. I took it all in. The feeling of invincibility. That feeling of warmth, with unknown cold right up against you, but ultimately, feeling secure. And for that moment, I was.
Lisa Quaraglia is equal parts nurse, writer, cook, and philosopher. She spends a lot of time thinking and talking about life, and love while mixing in sarcastic “Sex and the City” comments into everyday conversation. Her love of writing and curiosity of the world has brought her to IATG. She loves nighttime sky, wine, fancy restaurants and sparkly jewelry.
Featured image courtesy Sheila Moeschen