by Izzie Crossen on May 4th, 2009
Dad turned off the air conditioner in the whale-sized Oldsmobile as we neared Sandbridge. The briny smells of the ocean wafted through the windows rousing my sisters and I from our sleep. Though eleven hours in the same seat had exhausted me, the salty breeze swept away any discomfort that I had considered complaining about.
As we turned the corner at Sandfiddler Road, I saw my first glimpses of the ocean through the dunes and sea oats. Dad, havng seen the waters before, continued to plow his way down the sand-covered road at an excruciatingly slow pace searching for the beach house that would be our home for the next two weeks. I longed to jump from the car and run straight to the ocean, convinced it had been there waiting just for me.
Finally pulling to a stop in front of “Sea Crazed”, all three of us ejected from the back seat, charged past the house and onward toward the shoreline. Mom laughed and joined us finding it hard to contain her own excitement. Without a thought in our heads, we submerged waist deep in the waves soaking our travelling clothes. Over my shoulder, Mom clapped her hands and laughed one minute and snapped pictures with her ever-present camera, the next.
Satisfied from the first meeting with my ocean, I returned to the sand and joined hands with Mom. “It’s amazing, Mom. Just like you promised it would be.”
She smiled, pulling me in for a hug, knowing that her youngest daughter would share her passion for the ocean.
For hours that week, I just sat and stared at the water ; trying to lock into my memory every sight, sound, and smell. My preference to watch the water required me to endure constant taunting from my older sisters who assumed it was fear that kept me from joining them deeper in.
The breezes came in waves just like the water, bending the sea oats on the dunes. I watched the white caps breaking as far out as I could see, and I was pleased that I couldn’t see the other side; as though it somehow it was made more mysterious by the fact that my eyes couldn’t prove an end to it.
My days on the sand filled my ears with the roars of the waves and the squeals of small children. How lucky they were to be meeting my ocean at such a young age. I watched them dart toward the water only to be chased away a moment later by the waves, an endless game of tag amongst two friends.
And then there was the music man. He was staying just one house down from us and always sat on the deck in the late afternoons to play his guitar. I found that if I spread out my blanket directly in front of my house, the breezes would carry his voice right to me. He was melodic and sonorous and delivered my daily music in a James Taylor- slow and purposeful- sort of fashion. Music and the ocean became intertwined forever in my mind that summer.
The ocean had become my peace, and though I couldn’t have guessed it then, just the thought of it would bring harmony to me for years to come.