Leave Me by the Sea

(I’m making the executive decision to push Word Nerd Wednesday to next week in favor of sharing pics from my vacation last week.)

I love the beach. I don’t just mean, “Why yes, it is a rather lovely vacation spot.” I mean I love the beach. I’ve been told by the human who knows me best that no one loves the beach as much as I do. Which is both happy and sad. (Happy: I win! Sad: what is wrong with everyone else??)

Once a year, my human and I try to spend some time at the beach so that my soul doesn’t shrivel and die. (You think I’m being dramatic. I am not.) I have to see it. At least once a year, I have to see it, and the moment we arrive, I fly out of the car and down to the water to say hello. Everything else can wait.

The waves beckon.

There’s simply no place on earth where I am more at home than on a North Carolina beach. With my feet in the water, staring out at the ever-shifting waves, I feel like I can fully breathe, like every inch of me is at complete peace, resonating perfectly with the rhythm of the waves.

I love how much the water changes, from blue to green to gray, the way the fading sunlight stains the breaking edges pink. It’s never the same, from one day to the next, from one second to the next.

My happy place.

And on most NC beaches, you get the bonus of lovely views west across the sounds or waterways, including gorgeous sunsets.

The sun fading in a blaze of fire.

Even my hair is happier at the beach. Who cares if it’s tangled, it smells like the salt air.

Happy lady, happy day, happy hair.

And just when I think the ocean couldn’t get more beautiful, a storm rolls in, providing the most dramatic views.

The beautiful stormy ocean.

We were even gifted with a late night storm, lightning streaking across the water, brilliant flashes against inky darkness. Whether it’s sunny or stormy or cloudy, the ocean never fails to be beautiful and dynamic.

No matter what happens in my life—the good, the bad, everything in-between—I always know I’ll find my peace by the ocean.

When I am gone,
and am no more,
rest me here
upon this shore.

Release me
unto the sea,
and know I’ll be
forever free.

Of Love and the Ocean

My husband once told me no one loves the beach as much as I do. And I don’t know whether that makes me feel special or sad—special because maybe I have a connection to it that other people don’t have or sad because other people don’t love it as much. Either way, something about the beach seems to feed my soul. If it’s been too long since I was last there, I feel it. Life starts to feel like it’s piling up on me.

So we try to go to the beach every year. And our vacations do double duty for me, since they’re also research for my books. This June, we spent a week on Topsail Island, NC, where my latest manuscript is set.

The beach hair (and smiling) began the moment I climbed out of the car. I mean. Who wouldn’t smile at this view:

Every day I woke up with the waves dancing just outside the window. There is no better view for me. And every day, I walked along the beach, filling my lungs with the salty air and trying to figure out what it is that I love so much. Part of it is texture. The beach is overflowing with textures.

So many layers of textures and colors.

This particular beach was wide, with broad tidal ranges. At high tide, there was a large expanse of shallow water before you reached any real depth, so the light and wind could play with the water in the loveliest way.

Light and texture, every moment. And weather that can change everything in a minute.

Honestly, I could stare at that for hours. We even got to see a gorgeous lightning storm out over the water one night. But when storms rolled through during the day, they usually didn’t last all that long. And sometimes they left a stunning, mystical fog.

I love the way the water fades into the sky, how the light shifts the shade of the water. It’s dynamic, ever-changing.

Light, texture, dynamics, water reflecting the sky. And there’s this constant wind that wraps me up in a cocoon of solitude so that it’s just me and my thoughts. But at the same time, it seems muffles my negative thoughts. So it’s like being wrapped up with everything that is good and beautiful, with miles of possibility stretching out in front of me.

Who wouldn’t love that?

Now if you need me, I’ll be browsing the listings for beach houses and dreaming of being able to afford one.