In my heart I associate my childhood family with the ocean. I still return each year to my grandparents’ house and as I sit on the sun porch, in the stillness of the early morning looking out over the cold Atlantic, I can hear the voices and see the faces of those who have passed. It’s joyful to relive my time with each of these extraordinary people who molded me into the woman I am today. It’s bittersweet because it is the natural course that life takes.
For the first twenty years of my life every morning I awoke to the salty smell of the north Atlantic. There was never a day in those years that I didn’t see, smell and breathe the ocean, always close enough to dip my toes in. Now, well past my fiftieth year, I still yearn for that smell of the cold Atlantic. I miss it in my soul, like a lost friend.
As a child I roamed the shore line, swam in small ponds of salt water warmed by the sun, following my Grampy as he dug for clams, picked berries, rode in the hay wagon, milked cows, and gathered eggs.
From my grandparents’ sun porch, on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, on fine days the sun sparkles on rolling blue waves topped with gentle white caps. On stormy days the waves turn an ominous dark blue, thundering as they crash against the rocky shore line at the bottom of our hill. I can see them coming for miles, white cap after white cap. In winter ice forms at the edges of the shoreline and ice flows can be heard crashing into each other as they break and reform in the ebb and flow of the tides, each collision sounding like the crack of a gunshot.
As parents, for 12 years we took our sons “home” on vacation and as they grew older they returned as young adults, and now as mature men. They learned to love this place and the ocean.
I never grow tired of coming here, for me it is like going on retreat, a replenishing of my soul. To sit and watch the ocean in this magic place where I grew up is one of the most peaceful and beautiful experiences of my life.
It will be heartbreaking to part with this home and this tradition. I think I’m afraid that the memories will slip away; that I will be lonely for this refuge I have come to every year of my life. I don’t want things to change. This is my museum of good memories. Eventually it must be sold. I must be strong. I can’t move all the contents 2200 miles back to my Florida condo. I will be forced face the hard facts nose to nose, knowing I cannot win.
Now a grandma myself, I am the last one to call it home. I’m going to miss it…….
Do you have a special place that calls you to return?