Shannon, she of the miracle massage hands, has been torturing me with her photos of the California coastline this week. I awake to something like this
I love my own pool in my own backyard, but there's nothing like running into the ocean and having a wave crash over your head to cool you off. I'd much rather rub salt than chlorine out of my eyes. The grittiness of the sand and the sharpness of the shells is more pleasant to my tootsies than the pool's pebbly surface.
And then, there's the smell. Driving from Tiburon to Stinson Beach, I'd roll down the windows as we turned the curve past the Mountain Home Inn, and the parking lot for the trails down to Muir Woods and the fire roads which led you higher up and the Alice Eastwood Campground, scene of several memorable Columbus Day overnights when the Cuters were young. All those thoughts crowded into my head as I steered around the edge of the USofA, but they were pushed aside by the smell of the ocean.
My nose knew it was coming before the road revealed it
up ahead and down below.
I had the same sensations as a youngster, sitting in the back seat on the way to the beach.
It might have been my grandparents' beach, which announced itself in the snippets we could see through the train trestle uprights as we drove through Arverne to The Butcher's Co-op where they lived out their final years with a view of the waves.
It might have been Long Beach, early in the Fall, with our kites at the ready and all the free parking we could imagine, coming over the bridge and inhaling the outboard motor fumes and the salty sea air.
It might have been Point Lookout, or one of the beach clubs on the way to the public space at the far end, just a little further than Long Beach and with just a little bit richer smell. Driving past gated and guarded mansions - were the owners really Mafioso? - and a Nike Missle site I was overwhelmed with anticipation. Couldn't my parents smell it too?
They never drove fast enough on those trips. Never. Not once.
And now, I live too too far from the waves and the salt water and the sand. I love my desert, but somehow, to me, summer requires the ocean.
I'm going to have to remember that for next year.