Summer days and the beaches are deserted on this fine morning.
My husband took this picture of me walking ahead of him at the beach in Bandon, our home away from home, the place that has more of the things we need, a bookstore, a butcher shop, a nursery, a live theater, and a long stretch of white sands. The water on the right is a trickle of a creek making its way to the ocean which is behind me, behind the photographer. Every time we walk this stretch of land we marvel at how it has changed since the last time, marvel at the sight of tourists, or lack of them, at the wind whipping through the many layers we wear to buffet the assault we experience when out and about, each and every season.
Sand, water, hills, rocks. We navigate more consciously these days, trying harder to find our stride. I walk faster than my husband these days. In our early courtship, in our twenties, he had to slow down for me, and I had to double my steps just to walk along side him. If we walked up a hill, he got behind me, giving me a gentle push now and then. Nowadays, we have reversed our strides, he walks slower, I move faster. We both stop often to catch our breadth. He still gets behind me when we walk up a hill and steadies me with his hands on my lower back, a natural move we both enjoy.
I notice I am developing a hunch back I didn't know I was. Health concerns are natural concerns for us, and come up at almost every conversation we have, hubby and I, friends, strangers we will meet only once. We parse advice easily with anyone, just as often as we discuss health concerns: No, if we don't have muffins, we eat an apple instead; we must rest more often; move more often; what doctor do you use, and which pharmacy?; does your pharmacy have an automatic call system, and does that work for you? Where do you buy clothes? Why aren't people talking on the phone anymore, or send cards?
In the car, just the two of us, were we supposed to do something today?
Old age sneaks ahead of us while we are busy maintaining our stride in the work world.
Watching the sky every morning from our bedside, time floats gently in one day, and slams us awake the next. Living with changing weather seasons us for what comes next, for the furtive allergy, the prick of the rose petal, the challenging whip of those winter winds.
We learn to keep extra layers of clothing in the car; extra shoes too.
At the beach, that morning, I noticed that my cell phone had no signal. No, I didn't need to make any calls. I just noticed that if we had an emergency, one of us had to move fast, and get closer to civilization to use a device that is meant to give us freedom to roam.
That stretch of beach is off my list now.