I just finished cleaning the car from summer, taking out beach toys and swimsuits, dozens of granola bar wrappers and an air-dried Jack In The Box cheeseburger remnant. Now I’m prepping for muddy fields. I’m checking our umbrella count and fleece supplies. I’m washing the sand and caked-on peanut butter from picnic blankets.
One week ago we were here.
I took this piece of sea glass from the ocean’s dance.
I’ve been rubbing it softly between my fingers, and it takes me right back to the cool air of the coast blowing in off the infinite sea.
I had been worried about summer. Summer could have been a fire lookout far out in the forest in need of repairs—timber beams creaking, a stair on every case rotted, nails coming loose from the freeze and thaw cycle of postpartum depression.
Instead we enacted my get-into-nature plan. We bolstered the lookout with steel and replaced the old nails and the softened steps. We had a nanny with us four days a week; we kept the car ready for the beach at a moment’s notice; we didn’t coordinate much, we just went.
And I made sure I was never alone at the top of the tower.
We headed out from base camp and toward water wherever we could find it within a two-hour radius.
We didn’t do a single camp.
I look at our checklist and feel proud.
We captured summer and held it in our arms and rode on its back through the sand of what seemed like a thousand beaches.
I want to draw our treasure map again and mark all its special spots. I want to go out with passion and purpose.
But it’s time to focus on fall and school and soccer. Autumn feels crisp and dead to me: Its smell makes me nauseous.
I have to change the way my senses respond—to look for how routine can ground and nourish us. Somewhere in me fall’s small ember burns. I have hope for early bedtimes and good books and hot baths and getting my body stretched out and my muscles strong. I have soccer practices to help run, I have freelance work that’s exciting and scary.
Summer wasn’t drowned by postpartum depression. It’s time to find oxygen to blow into fall.