I have spent many summers, many spring breaks and even a few Thanksgivings on a desolate beach on the Forgotten Coast of Florida. This is the old school Florida house that you only see on TV now. Ground level, cinder blocks, funky yellow paint and blue seahorses decorating the house. It’s simple linoleum floor has supported me as I grew from a bored kid, anxious teenager into an adult that loves this home for what it is… a simple, peaceful respite from the rest of the world. It is the only beach that Colleen knows. There is an amazing sand bar just a short walk down the beach. If there is a really good low tide you can walk a mile out from the shore on the sand bar and only get to knee deep water. We have seen sharks, porpoises and critters not yet identified on the sand bar. I saw Halley’s Comet here and I saw Hailey Gill get married here. The beaches are deserted because the water is not clear, the seaweed covers every inch of white sand and there is this thing we call “mud bottom” where the bay brings in this black slimy sand in to the ocean. So, we don’t spend a lot of time in the water. Kids do, they always do… kids don’t care if there are sharks or a muddy bottom, they just want to swim. I have caught my fair share of hermit crabs, sand dollars, conchs and periwinkles . The drawbacks of this place being less than pristine, is that the wild life abundant. Bull sharks love the brackish water, we saw a female angler pull in a 6 foot Bull from the beach. One year we saw a migration of sting rays, I thought it was cool, Mike thought differently. That was Mike’s first trip to the Alligator Point… he swore off getting into the ocean ever again. Thankfully he has changed his mind and will jump in bravely to play with Colleen and make her happy.
I can’t even begin to list all of the memories I have of this place. Good, bad and ugly. Mostly good, but some very, very bad ones too. It is a heavy place for me to visit, but it is home. My sister was sick here, my dad’s dad died when we were here, my mother has mourned here deeper than she has at home. I find it hard to relax at the beach house now.
So, it might be a good thing that my parents are selling it. But it breaks my heart in two at the same time. I am trying to stuff it down and say it is for the best. Writing this is my way of facing it.
They are retired and spending more time a the beach now. For months at a time, they are stuck with no dishwasher, a small space for the two of them to be in and only one shower. Plus, my dad can’t keep his boat there. So, they are selling it and getting a newer, nicer home on a canal where he can keep his boat on a lift and they can comfortably live 1/2 of the year.
But my heart is still broken.
I know that I have dear friends that are more like family who’s hearts will break a little too. Peyton and I got a boat load (literally!) of sand dollars one year. This was also the year I was introduced to Prince via 1999 – our mom’s were not too happy with that one, but I was hooked. I grew up with Joe (Joey to me!) here and we were in a bad car wreck on the way down to the beach one time with our families. I can also remember running up and down the boardwalk and playing Uno way past our bedtimes. Heather Ivey and I had tons of fun getting dressed up and going to the local “bar” and getting strange looks from the locals. We laughed until it hurt. Noni and our crew spent a long weekend there a few years back. She was pregnant with her Hailey on that trip. Jill was a beautiful bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding we had on the beach right out in front of the house. I honestly feel like I am losing a piece of my heart. I have been going to this beach since I was 4 and I have spent summers in this house since I was in the 3rd grade or so.
I know that change is the only constant and I need to just go with the flow, but I guess I need to mourn this loss too. I used to think that mourning was just for death of a loved one. Now I am know better and I know I need to move though the emotions instead of using logic to wiggle my way out of the pain.
So, I am going to let myself cry over it. Today probably won’t be the last day I cry about it. It is funny how attached we can get to physical things. My yogic self knows that it really does not matter in the big picture… nothing is permanent, all material things are just dust blah blah blah… but this stinks.
The new house they have picked out has a weeping willow in the front yard. My sister wanted a weeping willow at her grave, but we can’t plant one there because it does not get enough sun. I think it is a sign that she is there too. I know we carry her spirt where ever we go so we will just have to make new memories in the new home and talk about her a lot. If the shoe was on the other foot and she was losing this house, I know she would cry too.