Sunday, July 21, 2013

Coming home to Pittsburgh...

     I was sifting through seashells today, taking a moment to exhale after a week of wonderful houseguests and beautiful busy noise, enjoying the still salty memories from our recent beach vacation. I came across a poem that found my fingers on our first morning back home. It reminded me how wonderful it is to return home renewed and refreshed by time with family, sea breeze and beach walks with no planned destinations or time restraints.  Our trip to the beach soothed my soul, loosened my nerves and bleached my hair a color I've decided to call carefree (not the same as careless) blond. (It's terrible, but I refuse to pay to have it darkened when it will just get more bleached by chlorine and sun for the rest of the summer.)

     Vacation for us, as it is for most families, was a break from the spinning cycle of run here, sprint there, pick up this one, drop off that one, Hi, Bye, goodnight, and so on. Instead of the morning rush to catch the school bus, we'd leisurely slip into swimsuits and sunscreen and make a day of searching for sharks eyes and tulip shells. During these hot, lazy strolls, conversation seemed to spill as naturally as the ocean spills onto the sand. On rainy nights, all five of us would cuddle up together on the one couch, under two blankets, relishing in the uncomfortable perfection of being so close to each other. We watched movies and ate popcorn and candy for dinner, confident we wouldn't get bellyaches or cavities. That stuff just doesn't happen on vacation.

     After two weeks of sandcastles, seafood and sun, it was time to say "See you next summer." I was okay with that. I left the beach feeling blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it with my daughters and husband and also with parents and extended family. The beach left me rejuvenated, calm and grateful for everyday blessings.

      Much as we enjoyed rubbing shoulders with each other in our tiny condo, I have a renewed appreciation for the breathing space our home provides. I absolutely loved every minute my toes twitched in the sand, but I'm also glad now for the smell of fresh cut grass and clover. Marco Island was as magical as always, but Pittsburgh is where we make magic from our own little square of reality. There is a time for vacation, and then there is a time for....

 Coming Home

Crossing the quiet threshold, we bring the noise.

It smells wet and empty, like old dirty laundry.

In a day or so, the air will fill

With morning breath and garlic

And the scent of pool soaked bodies kissed by sunscreen.

The plants are mostly dead.

Too much rain or not enough attention?

Hard to say, but it doesn’t really matter.

We’ve come home.

Solid ground and pillows that don’t leave a crick in my neck.

A sense of newness inside the old and comfortably worn.

I kick my shoes off in the hallway, noticing the stray grains of sand that spray from them like sea foam.

I sigh, then smile, then shrug my soft muscled shoulders.

We’ve brought the beach back home with us.

In more ways than one.


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