BEACHES

The younger woman lay on the beach towel trying for a tan on her brief visit. The older woman sat beside her in a low-seated beach chair. They were silent for a time, a comfortable silence, the kind that can exist between aunt and niece.

The sun was warm, the air balmy, and the ocean deep blue and green and actively tossing with swells.

The aunt remained silent because she knew that the niece had burdens to share, and she would, in her own good time. Meanwhile, they both took in the peace and caressing warmth of the day and enjoyed each other’s company.

(By now the tan was turning into a burn!). But they both went home happy, blessed by their time at the beach and with each other.

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Mist, foam and waves beat angrily to the rhythm of the young woman’s heart as she ran down the beach in tears. This was supposed to be her comfort spot, the place where she could go and find solace from anything. But not tonight. Her heart was broken and she wished she could die to get away from the pain.

She ran until she had no breath left, but the beach was patient and stretched endlessly before her. She slowed to a walk, mulling the turmoil of thoughts within her fevered spirit. She pulled out a small cassette player which had on it some Joan Baez music…“Diamonds and Rust”. As she listened to the music her soul began to calm. Others had walked this way before her.

Eventually she found herself getting tired. She looked behind her. My, but she had covered a lot of ground in her long sprint-walk! It was quite a way back to the van with the lion painted on it. But she turned deliberately and headed that way. She was glad it was stormy.

This would be a long night by herself on the beach. However, she did notice city lights twinkling in the distance across the dark expanse, giving some light to the darkness, both for her physical vision as well as for her shattered soul.

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Crystal let herself quietly into the rented summer condo on the island. This was her favorite island, although she had never stayed by herself before. This condo was beach front, and all she could have hoped for…spacious, airy, clean, and very much within earshot of the surging waves.

It wasn’t too expensive that year, either, so she could afford a whole week of pleasures and discovery. This island always held discoveries for Crystal…right down to the tiny shells she found on the beach as the tide came and went. Also, in the small shops and restaurants, she found culinary delights and unique shopping treasures.

The big king-sized bed, and large jacuzzi, promised a relaxing night to soothe Crystal’s nerves after the long drive and the work weeks behind her. She worked in the city in a large glass and steel corporate building and she wanted to get as far away from that as possible. She liked her job well enough, she supposed, but she really wasn’t cut out for the rat race of city life.

She was cut out for island life, where folks knew each other, opened their shops at 10:00 (not 7:30) and stood on the stoop with a cup of coffee to greet each other before opening up shop. At least that’s how she saw it.

So she hauled her bags in, called for food delivery, and began her very own adventure. The food was delicious, the bath even more so, and after some TV and quiet listening to the waves, the king-sized bed began calling her name. Softly, gently, as everything on this island did.

Everything on this island made her feel warm, at home, safe, and peaceful. Like being surrounded by the color yellow. Sunrises, sunsets, the flicker of warm colors through the palms, sunbeams falling on merchandise in the little shops, the glinting of small wet colorful shells in the light surf, and flowers tumbling out of window boxes. What more could one ask from a vacation?

For her first night there she gave herself a treat by leaving the glass doors open a bit so she could fall asleep to the night sounds of birds and other winged night creatures, a dog barking playfully off in the distance, and the rhythms of the reliable ocean waves marking their advance and retreat as the tide moved at the instructions of the moon. All was in synchronicity, and she drifted into sleep happily in the big fresh and comfy bed.

Tomorrow she would lay in some groceries and have a quick peek through some of the shops before going down to engage with the beach and pool. The pool came with it’s own cat and Crystal was anxious to see him again.

A little boy who belonged to the family of the manager had shown up with him a couple of years ago, kindly naming the little black kitten “Reprobate”. Now the kitten was a cat, and just as mellow as he had always been – except for the usual antics of kittenhood.

As she drifted into unconsciousness, Crystal wished everyone a “Mellow Yellow” summer, and a mellow “Reprobate” with whom to spend it!