I was ready to raise a glass and toast summertime long before the solstice, before school was out, even before the ground even properly thawed. This last week has been the epitome of summer, and we are all coasting nicely on the high that accompanies an epic beach road trip.
The girls and I drove, ferried and ran towards the seas of Nova Scotia and Maine. There are so many ways I want to remember this trip: Salt dried and crystallized on my eyelashes. We scoured the beach for the perfect shells to accompany our sand sculpture of a starfish. We made and ate lobster mac 'n cheese, gluttonously going back for seconds and thirds. The feeling of a wave crashing over my shoulder as I stooped down low and kicked my legs to ride it in to shore. Watching my little girls' tiny bodies, in their bathing suits, scamper into tide pools and collapse on each other, laughing euphorically.
I want to remember the sounds of waves rolling in: the constant, unending reminder of the moon's pull, of my tiny existence in comparison to a vast ocean, of the passage of time, both infinite and as a fleeting moment. I want to cherish the days spent under blue skies and whispy clouds, in front of seashores surrounded by rocky cliffs, red rocks, green hills, sand dunes. I want to remember the pull of sand and water under my feet as I stood where the wave lapped up to the sand, and how my little girl stood beside me feeling the same thing.
I know that I don't need to make a conscious effort to commit some other memories to my vault, because they touched my soul so deeply, they have become ingrained. I'll file this under, "reasons to know, deep down, that people are good, and love is real, and a kindred spirit is forever." My friend Johanna opened up her already busy Nova Scotia home to us five girls, and showed us what it means to love someone who isn't family. She didn't worry herself with expensive outings, fancy restaurants, or busy days. She knew to impress upon our hearts with days at the beach, good food in our bellies, comfortable beds to sleep in and ice cream every day. Just the way we like it.
Johanna and her family's kindness and love on this trip will be forever remembered with each summer season, compared against as the one we loved the best. Even time I look at the rocks we collected, or remember the movies we watched at night, the wine we sipped, and the pictures we took, I will let my mind wander a little too long on daydreams of our summer trip to the beach.
My dad and stepmom also heard my enthusiastic call for adventure, and jumped onboard. They booked us in to cottages in Maine that our family have been visiting since my Dad was young. We crashed into the surf, buried little girls in sand, chased seagulls, ate seafood, swam all day in the ocean and the pool, and spent real quality time growing together. It's never long enough in Maine, and we were sad to leave the salty sea air behind us. The bag of saltwater taffy we brought home will have to be a sufficient remedy.