I always said that if I ever moved back to Florida, it would only be if I could leave near the beach. And this is why: on the coasts you have the breezes, especially lovely at night, letting you forget the 200 degree cars you had to climb into after even 10 minutes in the grocery store, and the thick blanket of heat that envelops you even in the morning. In the middle of the state, you don’t have that. You have daily thunderstorms in the summer, but before and after, the air is dead still, the heat stifles, and from April to September, children don’t play outside.
Perhaps you, like me, have imagined yourself old ("old" being a relative term that creeps upward as we age, doesn’t it? "Old" now is mid-70′s to me. My dad is 71, and no way is he old!) . What kind of old woman will I be, do I want to be? I often study older women in stores, in the park…where ever I go, and pick out those who would be my models. I can never imagine myself old any place except at the beach, living in some sort of weatherbeaten cottage (if such things will be found anywhere in 30 years), perhaps not as leathery nut-brown as the real beach vets you see in these places, because they will have all those years here on me – living here and writing and welcoming children and grandchildren, because I’m fairly sure they’ll come visit if I’m at the beach.
(And I’ll say that as much as I love beach life, I’ve never really sought it as a place to raise children. Beach life and teens are a heady mix, and not so great, I don’t think. I saw it even in Maine, with my best summer friend Lisa. There was a point at which she jumped ahead of me exponentially in terms of maturity and worldliness, and I always got the impression it was because, even though the town we summered in was about 10 miles from the shore, her life as a teen became totally beach-oriented, night and day, and it was just a different world.)
And then today, eating in this this really excellent restaurant for lunch, Michael mused, "In an ideal world, I’d own a place like this."
Who knows…who knows.