Outside Showers and the Speed of Life

The last day at the beach is always odd – it’s hard to feel settled when you know you’re going to be packing up everything and washing out of the place tomorrow morning.  By this time in the AM, we will be on the road – Chip and Claire to Charleston, SC; Suz, Brent, Sarah, and Jeff to Richmond, and Hank and I back to Pulaski and our old lives.  All this leaves me with the slightly forlorn feeling I get when I know I won’t see the kids for a while.

That’s not to say that I find beach weeks particularly relaxing.  This morning I told my Beloved that I feel resonant.  I am vibrating to all the interpersonal things that go on in a week of communal living;  I pick up on my kids’ moods, on Hank’s moods, even on the temperature of things at the other house.  It’s a talent.

Anyway, part of me will be content to be back at home, taking care of plants and doing summer things for the month I have left before school.  But.

This is our sixth year in Surround Sound, and I adore a number of things about this house.  It’s so connected for one thing – big great room, kitchen, dining area; inside and outside stairs; all the decks connect; there’s a platform at the end of the dock for sunbathing and yoga.  The best thing, though, is the outside shower.

Other houses put their showers next to the central column of the house, surrounded by what is essentially a concrete carport.  They have all the aesthetic appeal of a derelict locker room.  But at this house, somebody put some thought into the shower, and it’s tucked under the stairs on the western (sound) side.  This seems rather exposed, but actually, it’s not.  You’d have to be about a foot and a half tall to see through the inch-wide gaps in the risers, but the sunlight can pour through, and it does.

So to shower outside at Surround Sound is to shower outside.  The sunlight and breezes are a sensory experience that goes all the way through wonderful and out the other side to sublime.  There is something so satisfying in washing away the salt and sand while the sun warms the wooden floor and one’s whole skin gets to feel the breeze.  I adore it.

I also adore wrapping my sarong around me and air-drying in the Adirondack chair outside our bedroom.  Sitting there, all clean and fresh, feeling the texture of the wood and looking at the sound, is a peaceful, almost spiritual experience, and it’s one you have to slow down for.  At home, a shower is something that happens as a prelude to something else; it’s what you get through.  Here, it’s an experience in itself, something to be savored. 

So many experiences here are like that – little moments that suddenly plump up into pure delight.  Kayaking is like that, as is reading in the surf, and discussing physics with Guy and Sarah late at night.  We can do these things any time, but we don’t slow down very often.  I like the slowed down of the beach, and maybe the one thing I dread most about the scattering that’s coming is the way, as we drive apart from each other, our lives speed up again.

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