This past weekend was my family reunion in Charlestown, RI. My mom's side of the family is from New England, so everyone trucked up there for some steamed clams. At least that's why I went. I also was excited to see an American-style beach for the first time since I moved to Pittsburgh in 2005. I felt drawn to the ocean and spent most of the three days standing in the surf like a moon beam, my glowing white legs disappearing into the clear water.
There is some sort of hurricane out in the ocean somewhere causing terrific swells and awful rip tides and just the most ferocious waves I've ever seen. We even watched a beach rescue on Monday! On two occasions I tried going out to frolic in the waves and twice, the ocean spit me back out. The first time, I splashed in and hesitated right at the breakers, so the wave dumped me on my ass and filled my bathing suit with pebbles. All my cousins stood in the safety of dry stand laughing and pointing.
The next day, I did the same thing and emerged with one giant boob out in the open for all the families and lifeguards to enjoy, as seaweed dangled from my teeth and more pebbles lodged in my labia. My young cousin Zack started laughing at me again and said, "you fought the wave and the wave won." I later drained the battery in his iPod playing solitaire, so I showed him. The two of us did eventually make it out to bob on the water until a tsunami squashed us both, snapped his boogie board, and sent us sprinting for shore.
I told my mom that I like being reminded how we can't control nature, that no matter how type A I get and no matter how many schedules or lists I concoct, I am powerless against the raging tides and if nature wants to toss me around, she will. I watched the tide come in and destroy people's beach picnics. I watched it go out and come back in again, not caring that humans were in the way. And I know the tide will still be doing that long after I'm gone. There is a force greater than me, stronger than me, with better decorating skills and sound effects, and even though I have brush burn on my legs and am still sneezing out salt water, I like it.