The air smelled of salt, the sun was shining. With Memorial Day weekend upon us and an excess of tourists in town the beach was packed. I held the leash of my sister’s dog, while my sister walked beside me down to the sand. We’d planned for the excess of people at the popular spots, so we went to a small rocky cove that was generally only frequented by locals. It was somewhat hidden, and probably not very popular since from a ways away it didn’t look like much, but it was a small microcosm among the rocks and tide pools once you got close enough to see. Here, there was a small sheltered area where the tide gently flowed and foamed among the shelter of the rocks, here the water was slightly warmer the than the freezing cold ocean.
We let the dog off the leash and sat down on the rocks to watch the tide come in and out on the coarse sand.
“I should have worn sandals like you, that way I’d be more inclined to take my shoes and socks off, I don’t know what I was thinking,” my sister lamented as she puffed on a cigarette.
“Definitely, it’s a perfect day, I haven’t felt the water in a while, I’m going to put my feet in at least,” I said leaving my sandals in the sand and rolling up my jeans.
It’s the initial rush of dipping your feet in cool, clear seawater that makes it worth it. So refreshing and pure, makes you feel alive as you feel you toes in the sand and the water rushing around them as the tide rolls in and out. My sister became jealous and finally had to take off her shoes and socks and dip her feet in.
“Ahhh, this is heaven, you forget how nice it is.” She said.
“I know, I haven’t been to this spot in probably 20 years, I remember coming here in elementary school with Sam.” Sam was the Elder’s son, a close childhood friend. “I used to lay back in this channel and just let the tide carry me up and down.”
The water was clear to the bottom, which was covered in large rocks and seaweed, the occasional speckled crab scurried by.
We waded deeper in till we were up to our knees, finally, I decided to commit. I put my wallet, my cell phone, my car keys back up on the dry rocks and, leaving all adult responsibility behind me, waded into the deep. I felt the water come up and soak my body and t-shirt and jeans as I dove under, instinctively closing my eyes so the salt wouldn’t sting them. It was cold, a cleansing for every sense, more alive than I’d been in ages, it was a baptism, a catharsis. I swam out of the inlet and into the open ocean past the rocks. Surfaced and bobbed up and down in the current treading water as the waves came past me.
“How is it?” My sister called asking.
“Freezing, but it feels great,” I called back.
She went in herself, swimming out into the inlet. I can’t remember the last time I swam in the ocean, it had been more than a decade. I swam back to the inlet and lay back, letting the gentle, foaming tide carry me and listening to the sound of the gulls. I closed my eyes and felt the sun on my wet skin as I floated up and down, losing all sense of time and care. I was soaked to the bone, but I’d lost all inhibition, there was only that moment, and nothing else, it was meditative, the peace I felt in my soul, I could almost see my body above the water as my spirit floated above. Finally, we waded back to shore, our clothes soaked and dripping and collected our things. The sun dried us as we walked back home. Maybe this is my fresh start, the time for the golden age to begin.