Sometimes, regardless of the weather, I just have to play on the beach. Since yesterday was a day off for me, my friend Mary Ann and I went to the beach in Port Huron, Michigan.
We were pretty optimistic as we set off at 8:00 a.m. for the hour and 20 minute drive. The skies were gray and there was a heavy drizzle, but we told ourselves it would pass.
As we neared Port Huron, the rain increased and we made jokes about how stupid we were, but it was all in fun, because the best time to explore a beach is in the rain. There was no lightening or thunder, just the persistent rain, so, after waiting it out in the car for awhile, we finally pulled out the umbrellas and buckets and headed for the beach.
The waves were incredible and the sound of them crashing on the shore was just what I needed to feel energized and alive. For as far as the eye could see, we were the only two on the wet and windy beach. An occasional gull or tern would land among the rocks and sand, watch us and then fly away.
Like two carefree children, we frolicked on the beach, filling our buckets with sea glass, petosky stones, fossils and colorful rocks.
Mary Ann tempted fate as she pulled in a big piece of driftwood that bobbed up and down in the wild waves. After she rescued it and it was safely on shore, I asked her if she would be mad if I left it behind. She agreed that the adventure of trying to pull it into shore was fun and she wouldn't mind if I didn't take it. I found several colors of sea glass and told her she could have them in trade for a cup of coffee at McDonald's, since I was cold and wet. An umbrella can only protect so much in the wind.
After a few hours of beach combing we decided to head back home. I thought that if we cut through the woods we could find the parking lot, and although Mary Ann was a bit apprehensive, she led the way. My internal compass was correct! We came right out to the car. The short cut saved us about 10 minutes; a big deal since we were lugging a lot of rocks home with us.
After I got my McDonald's' coffee, we said good bye to Port Huron just as another down pour started. The streets were flooded in some areas and about 1/2 hour out of the area, the sky cleared up. We joked about going back, but I secretly was ready to go home and warm up.
Mary Ann bought a 2009 state park pass, so we would be sure to return many times this summer. When she dropped me off at my home, I poured out my rocks onto my patio table. I counted more than 70 petosky stones and gave her all of my sea glass. I sorted the rocks into little piles and told Mary Ann that I was as happy with my bounty as someone would be with a new pair of earrings. She readily agreed and then assured me that we would be returning to Port Huron soon. Hopefully the sun will be out and we can swim. But if not, I'll be just as happy to play on the beach with my shovel, gathering nature's little souvenirs.
This poem is a favorite of mine. It's from the McGuffey's Readers, the books I learned to read from as a child,,,it reminds me of my day at the beach...
By Celia Thaxter
Across the narrow beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit, --
One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach, --
One little sandpiper and I.
I watch him as he skims along
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong;
He scans me with a fearless eye.
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky
For are we not God's children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I