I just returned from my annual retreat with girlfriends to the coast - our 13th or 14th now, I can't remember which - where the sight and sound of the ocean renews my soul and invigorates my spirit.
The bonding of girlfriends... the food... the kiss of the sun on my skin... the birds and people and dogs posing for my camera... the dancing... sigh. They're all part of the prescription, too. Too many sweet! moments to count!
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.” ~Isak Dinesen
One in particular was wishing my longtime friend Patti a happy birthday in person while standing on a balcony that looks out to a blue-green horizon of sea meeting sky... now that was particularly sweet!
I've known her since 4th grade, so we have a long history of birthday slumber parties. Who would have thought they'd continue into our fifties? Life is so surprising and beautiful! (Click HERE to read a birthday tribute I wrote her in honor of her fiftieth birthday.)
I fully intended to publish a "Reunion, Part 2" post last week before heading off on a this road trip, but ran out of time. So I just waved goodbye to that intention, as well as its numerous brothers and sisters. There are times you just have to do that. I knew they'd wait for me.
They did, and now they're breathing down my neck. But before I give them my attention, here are a few more sweet! moments from the past week.
Sunday: breakfast with classmates; a quick visit with your Mama and Daddy before heading home after a fun weekend; being able to check Facebook and email on your way home because your husband is driving; your son grilling pork chops for dinner; sorting through photos from your high school reunion
Monday: eight hours of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep; second graders; dads who eat lunch with their kids and then play freeze tag with them at recess
Tuesday: reading "Love You Forever" to second-graders, even though it makes you cry, as usual; getting a brand-new computer printer for free; being approached about one of your photos being used in a brochure for a nonprofit organization that helps animals
Wednesday: discovering new purple wildflowers growing along the road; a day at home to catch up on email, work on your book, critique your writing group's submissions, and scratch other to-do's off of your list
Thursday: road trips with girlfriends; your zoom lens working long enough to capture some close-up bird photos; moonlight on the water
“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” ~Jill Davis
Friday: waking to the sound of the surf; walking and running on the beach with a friend; spending a day on the beach with friends and your camera; discovering you can still do a cartwheel; grilled shrimp and huge onion rings; dancing at Sharkey's until closing time
(Conni gets credit for this photo, and all with me in them, I think, unless she's with me. I'm the one in blue...not bad for an old lady, huh? The other two are twenty-somethings. Thank you, Ms. H, my 6th grade gymnastics teacher, for making us practice, practice, practice!)
Saturday: relaxing on the beach with friends for the second day in a row; strangers pointing out things you should photograph, like dogs lying on lounge chairs; the rain holding off until you're ready to come inside; watching UT-Austin win a tight game while listening to the running commentary of your very vocal, passionate friends; full-moon-light kissing the waves and a lightning show flashing in the background; staying up late watching Saturday Night Live with one of your longtime friends
Sunday: a solitary walk on a near-empty beach in the pale light of dawn; a chance meeting of someone you first met the year before on the beach; being able to wish your dear friend happy birthday in person; a stop in Swinny Switch, Texas; fresh, warm tortillas and grilled veggies at the Alamo Cafe; your husband's face after four days away from home
Monday: explosions of tiny yellow, white, and purple wildflowers along your dirt road; meeting a neighbor and her dog on your morning walk; having enough money to pay the bills
Hope you have a week full of sweet!s!
P.S. Happy birthday, Mary Kay!
Friends, sisters, mothers, daughters... blessed with each other's love and company.
"Age disappears when you're at the beach." ~ me