everything old is new again


There's not a whole lot I'd ask from the universe than more days like these. A deserted beach. Sun-lit fog. My family, walking with me, goofing off. You name it.

Our first day in Isle of Palms was glittery sunshine, and we took a long morning walk before heading into Charleston for brunch. After that, the weather for the week was a mixed bag, but it never dampened our mood. Rain on Shem Creek while we ate shrimp and grits dockside. Rain again for fried oysters in the same spot a day later. And then there was this. This brilliant, foggy seascape that seemed lit from within. The air fairly glowed. I could have wandered in it for days, searching for distant surf and watching shadowy shapes appear and disappear. Layers and layers of gray on silver-spun gray.

It was a lazy, slow moving week. Fender-benders and fathers-in-law aside, things have been rather stressful behind the scenes here at Casa SPL this past fall, and slow moving was just what we all needed. Cal taught his grandfather how to play chess, and I read actual books! I wasn't reflective or thoughtful or ruminative. I simply sank my feet into the sand and soaked it all in. Time enough to ruminate in the days to come, I suppose.

Our last night in South Carolina was New Year's Eve. My sister-in-law, who'd done most of the restaurant planning, felt (and we agreed) that traveling into Charleston might not be our best bet, so we opted for the party at the resort where we were staying. It was unexpectedly sweet and lovely. Held in a ball room and packed with families, I was immediately reminded of Dirty Dancing (another movie Cal needs to see!). The sweetest dad and his pre-teen daughter were there together on a "date," and he was up and dancing to every Cupid Shuffle and Electric Slide with her. It was awesome. Little girls giggled in corners and teens shuffled into slow dances together. One older couple, they had to be in their eighties, danced nearly every dance, from Bollywood to New York, New York together. Like I said, it was awesome.

The music was just a little dated. Not quite the right set of songs for the teen crowd (or their moms who listen to the radio in the car with them), but it was still pretty perfect (Although I draw the line at Lady in Red. I nearly left the room at that one.).

If you know me IRL (that means "in real life," mom), you know I tend not to be a dancer. It's just not my bag. I'm more of a watcher than participator in many things, but this especially. And yet.

Yet. I found myself on the dance floor, dragging Cal and then Neel with me. And as it turned out, I ended 2014 and started 2015 by dancing. I thought, as I looked down at my impractical wedges, this has to be a metaphor for something. I'm still working to figure it out. Maybe it wasn't a metaphor for anything. Maybe it was just fun.

Here's to more fun in 2015. Here's to more time behind my camera and with my guys. More sunny walks on the beach and more foggy ones too. Here's to slowing down and sinking in. I have the feeling that exciting things are in store for us this year, and I can't wait.

beach day {life}

We took a beach day last week. I had a migraine, but the humidity was mercifully low so I bundled Cal and a pal of his (and their boogie boards) into the car and we headed out. It was perfect beach weather. If we'd waited a day the red flags would be flying for rip currents, and as it was the temperatures were perfect and the waves just lovely for boogie boarding.

Apparently the cure for migraines is the sun and sand and salt coupled with a light breeze. Low humidity doesn't hurt. While the boys careened from board to ball to ball (paddle and soccer), I sunk my chair and toes in the sand and dug deep into a book I'd just popped onto my Kindle. Bittersweet was just the kind of beach-read that I was looking for. Set at a wealthy family's compound over a summer on Lake Champlain, I'm not even sure that it was all that well-written, but I did exactly what one reviewer did, which was read it every chance I got until it was finished.

It was a fascinating story, and I won't give anything away by saying that despite this family's wealth, the primitive nature of their sprawling summer compound makes it hard to sense if this novel takes place in 2014 or 1954. I kind of like that. Dogs abound. Floorboards creek. Afternoons are spent beachside, reading (well, attempting to) Paradise Lost on the rocks beside the lake.

I felt a yearning when I read it, I have to admit. It all sounded so ... nice. The beach. The sun-heated rocks. The quiet slap of water against the shore as the sun goes down each evening. Not for the wealth, necessarily, and certainly not the dark secrets. (There are always dark secrets, aren't there?) I know I don't need the All White Party that's this family's tradition every 5th of July (Good grief, people.). But I yearned for those traditions that make summer, or any season, really, special. And it got me thinking, what traditions do we have? We don't do All White Parties, but we do have our summer routines. Watering the plants each morning. A pack of Twizzlers in our beach bag. The long slow walk across hot sand. A walk to the river on muggy nights. Milkshakes or homemade ice cream for dessert.

And if I want more? A glass of wine in the evenings before dinner. Some chilled grapes or cheese after work. All that takes is some more attention. A flick of the wrist, really. A willingness to take the time. And new routines are born. All White Party? Pffft. Give me a few moments in the evening light of my living room, and give it to me every night so I know I can count on it. Let me come downstairs freshly showered after a day at the beach, feeling cool and comfortable after my skin has been pulled taut by sun and sand. Let me talk with Neel about his day and answer Cal's impatient question, "How long until dinner?" This is the stuff dreams are made of.