Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

The Ocean at Night

It has been more than a year since the loss of my beloved boy Goose, and I cannot believe that almost 14 whole months have elapsed since I kissed his satiny nose and nuzzled his furry, salt and pepper neck. More than 52 weeks, 365 days, 525,600 minutes have gone by since he departed this earthly world, and all I have left is a small clutch of his mane hair and about a million memories. Every time I’ve opened this blog since, which admittedly hasn’t been a whole lot, I’ve been brought back to last July 11, and all the pain of those proceeding weeks. I still can’t so much as think about his goofy antics or utter his name without a fresh onslaught of tears spilling over. But while I will always hold close his memory, I got the urge to write recently, and I decided that I would share.

I miss this blog a lot sometimes. The only writing I do these days is journaling to release anxiety and emotion, and while it’s cathartic and therapeutic for me, it’s not the same as pairing my words with pictures and putting them out into the world. Even if no one reads them, somehow here my words hold weight, and I really like how that feels.

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Earlier this summer, we made our annual summer pilgrimage to the Outer Cape. In the four years since I started vacationing there, I have come to love its landscape, it’s restaurants, its people and it’s beaches with a ferocity that sometimes surprises me. It feels almost as much like home as Martha’s Vineyard does to me, and that’s a place I’ve visited since birth, so the speed with which I grew attached is a bit surprising. I think the seaside just does something to me, so whether it’s standing on the pier in Menemsha, or watching seals float along the shore at Nauset Light, I am enchanted. Mid-July, we spent  the last three nights of our trip along the shoreline at dusk, Kevin surf-casting, and me walking along the water’s edge, or sitting quiet, still, watching groups of seals glide by. I wrote because I felt like the words needed to leave my fingers, and what came out is below.

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There is something so majestic and awesome about sitting on the ocean at night. Listening to the waves methodically crash ashore, rocks clinking against each other, foamy water crackling as the bubbles dissipate — it just settles a calm in my heart.

As the day slowly fades away, the lingering daylight dances gently across the horizon, softening everything it touches. The crest of each wave painted with metallic streaks of the waning sun, white-capped and captivating, ebbs and flows with the rhythms inside me.

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The sound is enchanting, lulling me into a peace and solitude I can’t find anywhere else. There is nothing like the seaside at dusk, where life seems to pause for moments on end, the intricacies and complexities of reality getting benched for a few divine minutes of uninterrupted inner quiet and self convening.

The dimming light tests my senses, making the scent of each nearby fire seem heavier on the wind, more reminiscent of bygone days and s’mores of summers past, mingling with the salt air and the swell of gratitude I feel erupting inside me.

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The crash of each wave is a distinctive note in a chorus of melodies, playing a roaring tune that reaches deep into my being and lulls me into a calm I haven’t felt in so long. Probably since my last seaside days. The ocean does that to me.

A palette of pinks and blues and natural hues gives way to a million shades of grey, all with varying weights and depths and levels of contrast that deteriorate the dimension of every object around me. The clay cliffs fade into the vast stretches of sand, making the distinction between the two nearly imperceptible.

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Long, sunscreen-laden beach days turn into chilly nights where everything feels drenched simply by proximity to the ocean. As the very last light escapes, the rhythmic cycle of the nearby lighthouse beam illuminates the sand, and our path towards home.

But I don’t want to go home. I never want to leave this place. The power it holds over me is a control I will always succumb to, because it is a power of peace and tranquility, and true rightness in the world. It is not the power of another person, or a workplace or bills or responsibilities, but one that fully supports me being me, and lets that be utterly enough.

Away from the waves there are undesirable things, like and stress, sorrow, and uncertainty. These are the things of everyday reality, the inescapable consequences of life, but here they don’t matter. Here they almost cease to exist. Here where the waves meet the sand, life makes sense. The beauty is so immense and wonderful, the water so brilliantly cold and refreshing, the blues of the sky so vibrant against the tan of the sand, and everything is just perfect. Even the surf and the sweat and the sand between my toes, the dirty towels and sunscreen covered sundresses, they all don’t matter. Except to make these precious days complete.

The ocean reminds me of who I am, in the landscape of a life that constantly tells me to be something else. It reminds me what is true, and what matters. I don’t care that my hair is twisting knots around my face, or that my clothes are full of sand, I don’t care that the hem of my pants is soaked with salty water, or that they’re nearly falling off because they’re so full of the pretty pebbles I collected earlier. I only care that the calm in my heart speaks the loudest; that the grin on my face is erasable; that the joy I feel is boundless

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