This past week, I’ve been blessed by staying at my family’s little house on Cape Cod. The weather has been in the 60s and 70s, clear and sunny, and I’ve taken the dog to the beach every day. For the first couple of days, I was joined by my friend, Huntley Fitzpatrick, another writer. We talked, we wrote, we asked each other questions about our stories, we wrote some more, we read each other’s first chapters. In the end, we decided we are sisters of the heart and will be little old ladies together, preferably in a seaside cottage, along with the other fine women in our plotting group.
Then I was alone for a couple of days until McIrish came up with Luther.
Although I’m alone fairly often, I’m interrupted by the usual things—my husband coming and going, my sainted mother with a question about her computer, the dogs, the phone, the laundry, a friend popping in.
But here at the Cape, it’s different. I have a friendly relationship with the folks across the way, since we’ve owned this house since I was little, but otherwise, I don’t know a soul up here. I recognized a tall woman who seemed to go the beach at the same time I did, and who properly acknowledged Willow as the prettiest dog in the world. I bought half-and-half one night. Otherwise, no human interaction.
My kids text me maybe once a day, or they email, but we’re not in constant contact, which I think is appropriate—they’re growing up, almost there, and while I’m always here for them and love hearing about their lives, I like that they don’t need me to hold their hands through their college tasks.
So. Solitude. On Thursday, I took Willow to the beach in the late afternoon and let her run into the waves, catch her leash in her mouth and lead herself out, an act she repeated 20 or so times. Then we walked and walked as the shadows grew, and the wet sand reflected the deepening sky. I figured it would be a nice sunset, so I put my wet doggy in the car and drove over to the bay. The tide was out, leaving rippling sand. The sun set without too much glory, but then, about ten minutes later, the sky lit up with pink and gold.
I took a few pictures. Put my phone in my pocket and stood there for a long, long time. Didn’t text anyone. Just took it all in, the wind and sea and sky.
In a busy, tumultuous world, it was the best feeling I’ve had in a long, long time.