The ocean is calling to me again; I'm yearning for big water.
I know how wrong this is. I'm watching the flooding in Houston and agonizing for those who are losing everything. I should be (and am) so grateful for my cosy dry nest. My life is mostly easy and I'm comfortable, well-cared for.
But the siren song has had its effect. It's too late to stuff wax into my ears or lash myself to the mast. (A probably misremembered bit of Homer.)
The siren in this case is a generous lady my son met in Maryland, who was in town visiting recently. She owns a beach house on Chesapeake Bay and has issued a standing invitation for us to stay with her if we come to visit the capitol.
D.C. is definitely on my bucket list, despite the standing and walking involved. But the words beach and bay are really what snagged me. The thought of spending an evening walking along the beach and looking at the ocean fills me with indescribable longing.
I'm not alone. In the first chapter of Moby Dick, Melville states that this longing is almost universal. In his day the docks and shores of Manhattan would fill every weekend with landsmen gazing out to sea. The protagonist, Ishmael, signs on for a sailing voyage whenever life seems dull and unbearable.
An actual sea voyage doesn't tempt me because in my case that would mean a cruise--a giant floating hotel/shopping mall full of people. That doesn't appeal at all. And I have no idea how badly I would suffer from seasickness. The shore will do.
But not the Atlantic shore. At least not right now. Common sense vetoed the brief hope for travel. Spending thousands of dollars I don't really have is never smart. I'm not applying for disability for fun. We need the money.
So I'm vacillating between smothering desire and finding another way to satisfy it. I've led a very happy life despite having almost no contact with the ocean. There is an unremembered part of babyhood in Hawaii while my dad served in the army, a foggy day on the California shore with college roommates (and a dead seal), a beautiful weekend in San Francisco and down the coast to Santa Cruz with my husband. That's all.
But I have fallen in love with smaller bodies of water that may satisfy. There was a family camping trip on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, which I thought I'd be content to sit by forever. 4-H leadership camps brought me to Tahoe and Lake Michigan--both of which I bonded to far more strongly than any of the people I met there.
Closer to home is Bear Lake, which world travelers at church swear looks just like the Sea of Galilee. I will never know personally, but have many fond memories there. Coaxing my travel-averse husband to that shore is far more likely, but not until job pressures relax a bit, which probably won't be any time soon. Winter freezes the lake hard and I am not drawn to ice fishing, snowmobiling , or seeing how thin of ice my Jeep can drive on before it sinks. So maybe next spring?
In the meantime, I will visit the aquarium, listen to Moby Dick and try to plan a quiet day trip with my sons. The Great Salt Lake might do. I'll let you know.