from The Danger Box by Blue Balliett

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As soon as I realized that how you see and what you hold in front of you doesn’t always equal what you understand, not right then, I also knew, in a flash of pingness, that what you experience is yours forever. Yours to keep. Yours to turn over and over in your mind. It’s YOURS. p 283

This vacation did not go as planned—or at least how I hoped it was going to be. I thought we’d do all of the things we do every year on Columbus Day Weekend and when I came back to work I would be relaxed and refreshed.

Well, that didn’t happen.

When people ask about our time on the Cape, I tell them “I guess you can’t go home again.”

I’ve spent the past year thinking about my favorite meal at my favorite restaurant, and a special place I was going to visit. After much deliberating , I’d finally figured out what keepsake I wanted to bring back to remind me of our last time at the beach before T heads off to school. Surprise, surprise they’ve stopped making it. The meal I hoped to have was no longer on the menu, the special place had closed and the weather on Saturday was tumultuous. I had anticipated visiting five of our beloved beaches and we only got to two. Alas…

But it wasn’t all bad. As a friend pointed out to me—two beaches is better than no beaches. Yep, I’d have to agree. As I’ve had a chance to think about it, many crystalline moments keep floating to the surface of my mind.

The look on T’s face when I handed him the finally completed 14 foot Dr Who scarf.

The woman asking me if I was a taking senior photos and could she hire me.

The grooves the tide made in the sand when it receded, they were their own art.

The persistent seagull who keep dropping his food over and over to crack it open while I watched.

The spiky clouds in the sky over Chatham and the woman who joined me in photographing them.

But most of all I think about this photo. I took it from atop the wooden play structure at the hotel. It was a sunny day, the sky so blue you wanted to bottle it. M had brought me back a kronut from the bakery and I couldn’t resist taking a picture. I wanted the wood background d so I climbed up a steep ladder, the bag from the bakery in my mouth my camera slung across my shoulder. After I took a few shots I sat back and savored the treat and the view in equal measure. I felt like the world was mine for the taking.

So I didn’t visit all the beaches and I didn’t bring home the goofy sign I wanted to hang above our door. And in some way I realize that letting some of these things go now will make the goodbyes next year a little easier.

But I do have these memories and I plan to turn them over and over in my mind. I’ll let them tumble round and round till they’re as familiar and smooth as the stones I’m so fond of gathering at the ocean’s edge.

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