Living by the sea, we can always expect a constant influx of family and friends at the summer house. So it is rare when I walk this stretch of beach alone.
A simply beautiful day in early October with brilliant blue skies overhead and gentle sea breezes, this day was made for a romp along the seashore.
It is low tide, and I am captivated by the frothy surf sliding toward me. But then I watch it change its mind, heading back to sea and unveiling a treasure trove of jewels: iridescent shells, rounded stones and sea glass gleaming in the sunshine.
“I like to spend my sacred hour sitting on a quiet beach, listening to the waves roll in and out,” writes Matthew Kelly in “The Rhythm of Life.” “The rhythm of the waves has a calming, soothing quality. There is a sacred connection between God and nature.”
I stop at the giant boulders that form a natural barrier, marking the midpoint of my journey. Seagulls congregate nearby, floating gracefully on calm seas.
After sitting a spell, I feel pulled in another direction. Sinking in deep sand, I climb the small incline into the Fogland Nature Preserve, a field of sea grasses bending in the wind, bunches of bushes of beach roses, and a new fall addition, clumps of bright yellow goldenrod.
Beyond lies the salt marsh where the magic happens: freshwater transforms to brackish water to saltwater, the perfect chemistry that produces an abundance of life.
Scanning the panorama before me, I see patches of farmland on rolling hills, and the blue waters of the estuary reflecting the sky.
I spent so much of my childhood at the mouth of this estuary, fishing, clamming and crabbing alongside my brother, as well as looking for wildlife in the preserve. Today a fisherman wades through the salt marsh continuously casting his line in the pulsating current and hoping for a nibble.
Whenever I am here, I ache to return to my younger self – on my hands and knees, digging with a quahog shell, searching for the prize, the plumpest clams I have seen anywhere. A few could make a pot of chowder; a half pail would provide the makings of a clam boil for family and guests.
Back in the present, I try to retrace my steps; but time has erased them as the tide sends the surf up the beach face and forces me to seek another trail.