Wedding Anniversary

Today was our 23rd wedding anniversary. Jim and I woke up at 5 a.m., had coffee together while the house was quiet. Even the dog was still asleep. Then we snuck out and drove to a nearby beach.

As we did, the sun rose, turning the water and sky pink as we veered around hairpin turns. A pair of mating egrets did a romantic dance, and three pairs of ravens chatted with their partners. Apparently it’s mating season in the Bay area, not just for us.

I snapped photo after photo as we chatted comfortably, making rules about what we would and wouldn’t discuss during our “date.” No talking politics, covid, kids or work. What else was there?

After we arrived at the beach, leaving our shoes by the walkway, we were greeted by sea gulls, sandpipers and sea lions.

The miles rolled out before us as the waves rolled in, glistening in the sunlight that broke over the mountain.

Pant legs got wet. Dogs started emerging with owners, chasing birds and balls, and we were grateful we hadn’t given into the temptation and left ours home.

I snapped photos of everything that caught my eye, ripples and birds in the water, the way the sunlight sparkled in the waves as they curled in the sunrise while most others were still resting in their beds.

I didn’t really care if the photos came out okay or not. It was the capturing of them (or trying to) that was the gift, as if each snap confirmed that the treasure had been felt and seen.

Jim patiently waited, then we fell into that comfortable rhythm again, walking, walking, walking, feeling the sand under our feet, massaging our toes, waking us up, mile after mile. Mostly, we were silent, sometimes talking about the day, the waves, the water, breakfast when we got back–nothing profound, As a result, it all was, including that natural rhythm we get when into we are with someone we truly know and love.

Finally, we came to a cove and pulled up Google Maps on our phones, trying to find out where we were as we discovered a cute little seaside town from a new vantage point, dotted with anchored boats not unlike our own. We spotted a mammoth tree cast aside in the water, roots only left behind.

Jim went for a swim. I plopped down for a rest, enjoying the magic of a silent cove.

That moment of rest was the true gift–being alone with the one you love, up early enough to not have to rush or have anywhere to be other than in the now.

As we walked back, the miles unfolded more quickly. We even broke a few of our own rules, talking about some off the off-limits topics, but only briefly.

Sand tents, umbrellas, more dogs and kids arrived, ones in wetsuits, on boogie boards, floating, riding, laughing, mapping out sand castles that would no double become an all-day endeavor.

While seeing the children’s laughing made us laugh too, there was a frenzy to it, a fervent desperation. Finding the spot, claiming the land, making sure the chairs were just right, positioned near the tide line, close enough but not too close.

As we picked up our shoes from their resting spot and found our way back, others hovered for the prey of any open parking spot. We even got a bow and a prayer from the family who won ours, their spoken wish that the parking gods would smile down on us and give us good karma for the day.

We turned around and headed home, looking forward to returning to our kids, no doubt still in pajamas, cuddled up somewhere, just starting what we already knew was a very good day.

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Copyright © 2020 Laurie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photo credit: Laurie Smith

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