We went to surfer’s beach the other day. It rained twice on the hour drive out, and then the sunshine won. The beach was crowded for Kodiak—maybe ten families and a couple of four wheelers, but we outlasted most of them. Our dog, Schooner, abandoned us for a little redheaded girl who threw a stick for him about 200 times. The boys dug tunnels and waded and played the exact same game we loved to play here as kids—the one where you follow the receding waves toward the ocean and then scream and race away as the tide sweeps in. I was a tiny bit fearful that some wave might carry them out and kept circling the boys like I was playing a zone defense. There was a time the only consequence I considered in this game was jeans wet to the knee.
I kept thinking about place and time overlapping. Witnessing my boys delighting in the same act, at the same beach—maybe it was my Once More to the Lake moment. Except without “the chill of death.” I recognized their joy from memory, and I felt as if my own joy in this moment was deeper for knowing it twice. All I felt was happy.
And I didn’t want to live anywhere else.
Sometimes I get nervous about the book coming out. I didn’t set out to write personal essays. I’d been hoping to stick with the hidden narrator of journalism. On perfectly beautiful days like this one, I can’t imagine writing a word against life on Kodiak.
A friend just recommended the novel A Paris Wife. I opened the book today and the Hemingway quote as epigraph reassured me somehow.
“There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.”