For so long Jeff and I talked about wanting to go to the ocean more often. It wasn’t all that far away and yet sometimes we’d only get there once or twice a year. Every time we would go we would love it so much and feel so rejuvenated that we’d say how we needed to go more often, and then another stretch of time would pass before we would find ourselves back there again. That is slowly changing though, as our family is realizing just how very good that time is for our well being, and we feel a stronger and stronger pull to go. The self-care time that the beach brings is something that we are making more of a priority. And we’re all in agreement about this. No one in our family has ever not wanted to go when someone suggested going to the beach!
The main complaint I hear from friends about the beach, though? The wind! Yes, it gets very windy along the coast. That’s why whenever we happen to have an amazing beach day with hardly any wind, we feel so lucky. Jeff and I had decided we wanted to go to the beach after all the holiday orders and gifts had been mailed out, and when he looked at the forecast the best beach weather happened to be on Solstice. Going to the ocean that day was a wonderful way to celebrate. The forecast said only 5 mph winds and though it was completely overcast in the morning, we had a window of time that day with the sun shining bright. It felt so warm and good. (Amazing how warm it felt, even in December, with hardly any wind.) That evening we saw a beautiful sunset on our way home. We talked about wanting to go again soon, but nothing in the forecast looked promising for awhile.
But then… on Christmas day Jeff suggested going to the beach. We had decided to stay at home for Christmas this year, rather than visit family, because we were so glad to have what felt like the first real holiday season at home for us. We planned to visit family and celebrate with them right after Christmas instead. That day, even though I was so happy to be home with our little family, all cozy in our jammies opening presents, I found myself missing our other family. I was surprised when Jeff brought up the beach, we had planned to have a cozy day at home, and the weather looked like it was going to be cloudy and cold (and probably windy too.) But Jeff had a feeling it was going to be a good beach day and Bracken and I were up for checking it out. We quickly bundled up in coats or ponchos, and wool hats, and headed out the door.
I cannot say how grateful I was that Jeff had that feeling that day and that we all agreed to go along with it. As we neared the beach the clouds parted and the sun came out. The sun was warm on our faces, the sand felt amazing under our bare feet, and the ocean water was rejuvenating. We weren’t the only ones who had the idea to go to the beach that day, there were so many friendly faces and people saying “Merry Christmas” to each other as they walked by. Someone had written XMAS 2017 in the sand. We saw people in Santa hats, including a baby (adorable), and dogs running and playing. The overall feeling was so joyful and I loved sitting against a warm rock and watching all the people running in the water and walking by.
One of the best parts of the day was an unexpected friend we met. We saw a gal over on some rocks who looked like she had a bird with her, and we were all curious about it. When she came closer we saw that she had a duck with her. As she walked by us we chatted and she introduced us to Oscar, the duck. And then she told us his story. He had been attacked by a dog when he was a duckling and she had rehabilitated him. Since that time he had followed her everywhere she went. He was a love, and let everyone who passed by pet him. It was such a fun experience, and I saw that kind gal and her feathered friend bring so many smiles as they walked along the beach.
Our day was not what I had expected. I hadn’t expected to go to the ocean for Christmas, or to meet a duck named Oscar, or to feel the ache of missing family lift as I was surrounded by so much kindness and joy and happy faces all around me, or to be blessed with such beautiful weather while we were there (or to have two beach days so close together!), but it was such a wonderful Christmas beyond my expectations and one I know we will always remember. When you head out the door, even for something that doesn’t seem like all that much of an adventure, you just never know what unexpected things might be in store or what surprises might delight you.