Thursday, May 11, 2006
Last weekend, we went to my parents beach house to help them open it up for the season. My parents first bought the house when I was ten, and I have been going there for over thirty years now. Since it's not a winter house, every year by the end of October, they close it down, and every year around early May, they open it up again. "Opening" and "Closing" in this sense, refers to any number of the following activities: getting the water turned on or off - the town has to do this; sweeping up any broken glass (wine bottles can explode in the cold weather) as well as any mouse droppings (the creatures tend to take over when no one's around...); inspecting for any break ins or petty crime - (one year, the grill was stolen...another year, the stereo. It could have been worse); breaking down or setting up the beds; unstocking and restocking the kitchen, etc. Once all that's done, we breathe a sigh of sadness, or relief. Sadness, in the fall, when we have to say goodbye to it all, and relief, in the spring, to find everything still standing - the ceramic vase I made when I was ten still perched on the kitchen mantle, family photos displayed along the bookcase, the crinkled tube of Crest still where I left it on the bathroom sink. Leaving and coming back again, gives me a new appreciation in life for everything I love, and a renewed sense of the cycles of life - the changing of the seasons, the downpours and the heat spells, the thousands of times we have watched the sun set over the bay and the moon rise over the ocean, the thousands of time we've heard the call of the wild geese as they make their formations in the sky and pass over quickly, like shadows. Now, it is reassuring to see and hear it all again--the sway of the pine trees in the wind, the feel of the beach sand between our toes, the cool sea air in our lungs. Soon, the ocean will be warm enough to swim in, soon the road to the beach will be so hot we will burn the bottoms of our feet. And then before we know it, the cycle will renew itself again, with the first falling leaf. Of course, you don't expect to find a house suddenly gone, or the sound of the birds suddenly silenced, or the golden ball of the sun somehow absent from the sky. But in this age of the unpredictable, when unforeseen events can take over our lives, and we only have control over so much, it is reassuring to know that the teapot left in a tiny corner of the kitchen, lid slightly askew, is still right there, waiting to be put on the stove.