After a day of downtown Portland’s busy scene – art and wharf and walking, and my brother crashed a bachelorette party while my daughters ate gelato, and my older daughter bought the younger a miniature ship in a bottle – we drove over a drawbridge in search of the wide open ocean.
At the beach, we left our shoes by the car and spread out, one daughter gathering shells and sea glass, the other carrying her camera. Away from the city’s hurdy-gurdy, the ocean – sky, sand, stone, gull, the steady and infinitely changing waves – churned, at once noisy and calming, a place we had never been and yet was familiar, expansively glorious.
We leapt over enormous chunks of pink granite to an old lighthouse while the sun tugged the daylight over the horizon. Afterwards, all of us laughing while I drove through the dark, I told the children we would stop in Pierre, South Dakota, for gas. With our three drivers, we’d switch off until we hit the north California coast. Even when we returned to my brother’s New Hampshire house, late, the little girl tired and nearly asleep, we were still laughing, the world wide-open and full of possibilities, as if my little car with its two bright headlights could trek all around the the globe and ferry us back to home.
…where we choose to be–we have the power to determine that in our lives. We cannot reel time backward or forward, but we can take ourselves to the place that defines our being.
Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab’s Wife, or The Star-Gazer