Yesterday was lovely. We slept in a bit, and by the time we were up, the sun was already getting a bit hot, and the birds were singing. I putzed around for the first half of the day and left for the beach in the afternoon.

The trip was exactly what I needed. On the way to the beach, I turned the radio up loud. I took my time. I thought my thoughts. I didn’t have to articulate anything. Didn’t have to explain anything. Clarify anything. It was just me, the road, and the radio.

And then, the beach. The very best part about living here. I needed to be reminded. I needed to spend hours staring at the ocean. Breathing the salty air.

The beach was nearly empty (I drive to a beach farther away for this very reason–space). I started reading The Life of Pi. I listened to Coldplay. I watched the tide go out. The ocean was flat and dark, a  neat line of small waves separating the water from the land. The sun was warm, but not too hot. I felt alone and calm.

I watched the birds. The little ones, running from the waves on their little stick legs. The seagulls, lazy today because of the lack of people (specifically, the lack of children with bags of chips). And the pelicans. The water exploded as they dove for fish. Again and again. Lovely.

When I felt good and centered, I went home. I made dinner (a lemony lentil recipe with rice, plus roasted sweet potato wedges). I made dessert (Dulce de Leche brownies). I felt satisfied.

And then I wrote. And thought some more.

When I’m feeling grouchy, I’ll try to remember that I’m not very far from the beach, from the constancy of the ocean, from the sand between my toes and the shockingly cold water. The clarity that comes from a nearly empty stretch of sand and water, the clouds above white and far away.

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