A New Fear

I have been a swimmer for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories that I have is of me taking swimming lessons in the baby pool at our swim club. Following that I spent years on swim team and also just playing in the pool. Many times you couldn’t get me out. I’d swim all day.

I had a respect for the water of course but I was never hesitant to be in or on the water. I spent hours riding waves with my dad and friends.

In the last ten years I stopped going into the ocean as much -the fear then was stepping on icky things. I was more wary of the currents and undertow. Probably because I had little Kids and even if they had ease in the water the fear of your child getting pulled out into the deep looms large for most parents I imagine.

I still had a love of pools if they weren’t too crowded (that’s a germ thing-yes I got more leery of the humanity in a pool as I’ve aged and well it grosses me out if there are tons of people swimming in a small enclosed body I water no matter how much chlorine is dumped in).

I love the water and I really love being near or in the water. We have a cottage just steps from a Bay. But I now have a fear of deeper water.

I was out on the bay the other day on my kayak. Kevin was along on his kayak. It was a chilly day. About 55 degrees. I’m a new kayaker. I got a boat with pedals as I can’t use my arm to paddle because Of my issues with nerve damage and pain. I was thrilled when I got the kayak. I motored around last summer and if the bay was a little choppy I found myself feeling somewhat nervous. I am no longer sure of myself as a swimmer. I can’t really swim which because of my limited use of my arms but it really didn’t seem to be a huge issue last summer because the Bay isn’t really deep and the water was warm. But the other day the water was cold and seemed deeper and it was choppy. I had wetsuit bottoms on but just a jacket and hat on. And I was wearing boots. Wellington’s. Maybe not the best choice.

While on the water as I was traversing some choppy conditions I felt myself panicking. A full out freak out was just on the edge of my brain. I kept picturing myself falling off the kayak. Or it tipping. Me sinking as my boots filled and my coat became heavy. I feel the fear now as I write this.

I had a flotation device but not on me – it was secured on the back of the kayak. I tried to reach behind me to grab but my limited range of motion and the rocking of the kayak made it impossible for me to reach it. That was a rookie mistake not to have put it in.

I told my husband I was feeling very scared. Kevin told me to take deep breaths and as I did I felt myself regain control of my thoughts. The choppy water wasn’t really that bad. The boat wasn’t really in severe danger of tipping. I tried to enjoy what I was doing and concentrate on the beauty. I’ve lost the ability of being able to do a number of things since my nerve damage became so bad and kayaking gave me the sense of freedom that I’d been craving. I didn’t want to lose that to fear.

We ended the journey on a good note. I was calmer but I had a wake up call. I’ve definitely lost my confidence that I could save myself if I got into trouble. I’ve never felt this way before. It made me mad. Just one more thing that had been taken away because of my limitation and because my body is weaker because of being mostly bedridden this last year.

But anger won’t solve anything. I’m a problem solver by nature. So moving forward I need to figure out how I can feel less fearful in and on the water.

Over last summer when I first went out to sit on the beach at the ocean I walked up to the waters edge and watched the waves roll in and I realized even then that I was very leery about even attempting to wade in to my knees and not for fear of stepping on something icky –it was fear I couldn’t even get up if I fell into the shallow but wavy water. As a result of this I decided to head to the neighborhood pool and allow myself to ease into a better comfort with the water. During the first visit to the pool I ended up in the deep end with a swim noodle and I was able to ditch that after a time and then proceeded to tread the water and I practiced floating. It isn’t easy to tread water with one arm but it’s doable. But this pool visit gave me confidence to venture into the ocean at least up to my knees or hips. And subsequent visits continued to help my confidence. I also worked on leg strength in the gym when I felt ok.

So why the panic the other day?

Well I’ve had another surgery since summer. Just four weeks ago. I haven’t been allowed to do much and maybe kayaking wasn’t a good idea. Maybe I felt vulnerable. I’m definitely weaker. It doesn’t take long to weaken when your on restrictions to not work out or do too much physically. And I think the cold water scared me. Cold water can be paralyzing. But most of all my biggest obstacle that day was my own mind getting the best of me.

I am not an “I can’t” person but over the last few years I’ve said that more times than I care to admit. I want to be strong again! Mind and body. It’s so frustrating to try to get stronger only to be met with Pain as a result. But I’m going to try to figure this out. I’m not likely to kayak anymore this year. It’s getting too cold. I plan to be in some type of workout program. We have a gym in our barn so I have no excuse to at least try. And somehow I have to get into a pool. We have some indoor pools nearby. (Maybe they won’t be too crowded!).

I just want to feel strong again. I still deal with pain and that’s limiting -I have had three surgeries in the last year to try to get rid of it and it’s much better -but there may always be some pain I have to figure this out despite that. It can be done. I know it.

Next spring when I break out the kayak again I want to feel I could cross the bay (it’s a mile). I may not ever try it but I want to feel like I could. I want to no be afraid. I want to be strong.

Finding new roads or currents 

The thought I might never ride a horse again had crossed my mind from time to time this last year. I am pretty sure my own horses don’t really mind that-but it has been hard for me to concede to that fact that my riding days are over. So I’m not really going there yet. But right now I am not supposed to ride a horse. Not only my horse – any horse – no can ride.  This has to do with the fact I have had two major nerve surgeries on my arm and chest wall and a fall off a horse would definitely not be good for me.  

Had I known my riding days were limited I would have ridden more when I had the chance.  There really isn’t any sense in those regrets but that is how I feel much of the time. 

I am a very active person or I was. Since laying in bed with chronic pain for many months I am basically starting all over trying to get myself back into shape. It’s not easy when you have physical limitations and chronic pain. 

I have a whole list of can’t do’s:

  • Can’t ride a horse. 
  • Can’t lift weights with upper body. 
  • Can’t bear weight on my right side using arm. 
  • Can’t paddle anything. Like a kayak or stand-up paddle board. 
  • And you get my drift. 

So I’ve been trying to figure out what I can physically do because focusing on what I can’t do is just depressing and not productive.  And there are many more things I can do than can’t. 

So far I can

  • Walk. 
  • Ride a bike 
  • Ride in the front seat of car again. 
  • Drive a car
  • I can lift weights with my lower body 
  • I can feed animals 
  • I can brush animals with my good arm. 
  • You get the picture. 

The fact I want to ride a horse again is a good sign anyway. The fact that I can’t -for now – is just a hinderance. 

With our traveling back and forth to our beach cottage I’ve been trying to figure out what I could do for activity on the water. Kevin and the kids got stand up paddleboards and they are so cool! I can sit on one while Kevin paddles and that’s fun. We got a two man inflatable kayak and that’s fun too – but I have been just a passenger bc I can’t paddle it. Passengering is ok. It’s fun sometimes – but I don’t want to be the passenger all the time. 

I thought there must be a water device that has pedals.  So I looked up kayaks with pedals and they exist! I found out fisherman use them as it makes it easier to maneuver while fishing.  

So we found a kayak outfitter in Lewes ,DE about 40 minutes from our cottage. We worked with one of the salesmen and he gave us the lowdown on different types of pedal kayaks. We selected a Hobie kayak. The price was fairly high (I may have gasped) but I really wanted independence. I wanted an “I Can” that I could do with my family on the water and I wanted something that gave me independence like the bike did. The price was worth it. 

The feeling of being on the water is amazing. I love the serenity and the exercise. 

I love the freedom and independence. 

I’m glad I found another “I can”

——

Link to the paddle sport shop Facebook page where they posted our picture. 

Here’s some info about the Hobie Mirage kayak I got. 

Meet Daisy (and duke)

Meet Daisy. She is my new beach cruiser.  When we bought our beach cottage this past spring I knew I wanted a bike. But I never really felt like I would be able to ride again because of the issues with the nerve damage on the right side of my body.  I kept telling Kevin we needed to wait to look at bikes until I felt better. The thing is I don’t know if this is as better as I am going until we do the next procedure which may be fat grafting. 

My arm and side tends to get all “burny” and achy feeling when I overdo. Ice packs are my friends. As are heading pads it depends on the moment. And I don’t know what overdo is. It varies -so I hold back on the things -like getting a bike. 

The other day kevin saw an older neighbor in our new beach neighborhoood  (we are like the babies in this neighborhood I am discovering !) and she was riding a three wheel bike. Kevin thought maybe I could try one of those to see if I could ride easily using just one arm. I thought -three wheels!? That’s a tricycle – but ok why not. I need to be open minded because I have a disability now and I want to adapt as best I can to be able to live life the best I can. So we planned to just go look at trikes. 

And if you are looking at the picture Daisy isn’t a trike. She’s a bike! Pretty as can be. 

We stopped at a bike store on route 1 as they were getting ready to close. We had to have our beach time and didn’t plan the timing too well but we lucked out and found an accommodating  store even though it was just about closing time. 

Two beautiful young woman were getting ready to take all the bikes set up in from t of the store inside. I could tell immediately they were Russian. The shore gets many young people that come over to work the summer shifts. I wanted to start my whole convo about how my kids are from Kazakhstan blah blah but I didn’t bc they were closing.  I don’t have those convos anymore now that my kids are older bc they are often with me and I think it’s their story to tell now. And they stay mute. But once in a while if they aren’t around I like to tell it but I had a bike to try so I stayed quiet. 

The manager of the shop a thirty something guy with a beard told us he didn’t have trikes at this location -bummer. I could tell he didn’t like the trikes. Why did I know this? Because he basically said so. I guess I wasnt too keen on them either  especially after he said how much space they took up in his small shop. I didn’t want big and heavy – having a bad arm doesn’t bode well for having to maneuver a big bike. 

I explained my plight – show me a cruiser with big long handle bars so I don’t have to reach far. And he did! There was an entire fleet of bikes I could choose from and I saw the yellow green cruiser with the white seat and I asked them to pull that one out. 

I had a long light sweater on over my bathing suit which I didn’t take off when I got on the bike -I was too excited -so I just held it up with my hands as I rode.  It must have made a pretty picture! 

The seat was so comfortable and it was so easy to peddle. I rode around the lot laughing and almost crying because the feeling of freedom was so immense. I can’t explain well but after being so sidlelined for so long the feeling of moving on the bike was amazing. It isn’t a horse but it’s something. 

Kevin turned to the manager and said “I will need a bike for me. She will be taking that one.”

I laughed and rode around and around. 

And Kevin bought Duke. Kevin is not sure about naming his bike but he’ll go with it. He is just that way. 

I love Daisy. And now she has Duke to spend her time with. He’s a good looking bike. A cruiser but manly in his build. 

We rode all over the neighborhood the first night. I was sore the next day and my arm hurt but I likely used it more than I should.  I can easily ride here with one arm.  My left arm is not my dominate so asking it to do more is awkward for me. The right arm wants to jump in and help. I’m learning my bounds. 

I sent my surgeon the photo of me with Daisy. I owe him so much thanks for getting me this far. I still have a ways to go but this is miles from where I was.  I did ask him if bikes are ok and I promised that I was not riding my horse. He responded with happiness at my ability to ride a bike and said bikes are ok. Horses not ok. 

Yet. 

But they will be. It’s a goal. 

But for now there is the freedom of riding Daisy. 

And for the ability to do that I’m very grateful. 


Duke

Cool Breeze Cottage

My dad called me “Cool Breeze” when I was a teen. I hated it. It implied that I was trying so hard to be cool.  Which in fact I was trying to be cool but he needn’t point it out on a daily basis. 

My dad called a spade a spade(I kind of inherited that trait from him but I think I’m a little softer in my approach but my teens might not agree.) . And he was half joking. It was his way of taking out his frequent frustration with his teen daughter in a comical way. But I was an all about drama teen and I did not like the name at all. 

He would sometimes make it all drawn out. “Here comes Coooool BReeeze , Cooooool Breeze”. It probably didn’t help I carried a large comb in my back pocket and a big attitude on my shoulder.

I tried to ignore it. Sometimes it almost made me laugh when he said it. My dad liked when people were in on the joke but I would not give him the satisfaction. We weren’t buds. And I was trying so hard to be cool. Forget that I was majorly insecure. I would play the part of cool teen. But sometimes my facade cracked.  That’s why the name stung. I was so far from cool. 

But I get it now. And I miss my dad and would love to talk to him again and say “remember when you used to call me Cool Breeze?”  And we’d laugh. 

Over the years we’ve talked about  old Cool Breeze. And I even gave him the satisfaction of a laugh. And the name became a memory –any sting I had from it is long gone. It became a story between a daughter and a dad who sometimes struggled to find things to chat about.  I tear up writing this because I can chat up the best of them -why was it so hard to find things to say to my dad?  And he me?  

I sure can think of lots of things to say now. We weren’t perfect but I miss that man. I tell him that everyday when I wake up. Sometimes I hear him in my head. 

And recently  I was searching for a name for our newly purchased beach cottage. A dream that came true only because my dad isn’t here and my brother bought me out of my dad’s Florida condo thst we both inherited. But our beach cottage is a true dream that became real on April 10, 2017.  It’s still sinking in – and I thought we have to name it something to remind me of my dad. I went through a bunch of ideas. I didn’t like any. Then one day I began pondering name possibilities and Cool Breeze just popped into my head. 

Of course- so I sent Kevin a text “how does Cool Breeze Cottage sound?”

“Perfect”. He wrote back. 

And so I want to introduce you to Cool Breeze Cottage in Delaware. It’s six miles to the beach but a couple minute walk to the Indian River Bay.  Far enough to get away from the crazy summer crowds  of Bethany Beach but close enough to join in when we want. 

We are one of the smallest houses in the neighborhood but when I first saw it online I didn’t know that. And something about the place drew me in. I wasn’t going to look at it because it was out of the price range. But on one sunny day in February we drove out to the shore to look at a few places. I was in pain and traveling for me involved laying in the back of our conversion van with my dog and  popping pain meds and streaming shows on my iPad while Kevin drove. My goal was to get out of the van look over each house on our list and get back in the van and go home. 

We finished our tour of four places and we had two good possibilities and I told Kevin to drive up to the neighborhood where we had looked on one previous trip where we lost out on a house because we weren’t quick enough to make an offer. I loved that area and as we drove I opened realtor.com on my iPad and checked my saved listings and that cottage popped up and had dropped 17k!  I did a double take then told Kevin -we were looking at the cottage at least from the outside. 

We pulled up in front of the gray blue cottage and called our agent right away. She came right over and let us in and the rest is history.  

It wasn’t until we made the next trip over (again me in the back of the van on pain meds) for the inspection that I noticed what the neighborhood was like.  And how close it was to the bay. Kevin and I walked over to the little walkway that led to the bay beach and we just grinned at eachother. It’s a dream come true. We are excited and humbled at the same time.  

I’m determined to enjoy it despite pain issues. In spite of pain issues 🙂 We hope to make some good memories there. 

My dad and  I had talked about maybe buying something together at the Delaware shore not long before he died. He loved that area. We spent many summer vacation weeks there. My love for the area continued and we began to go with our kids when they were pretty young. 

My dad will be missed but somehow I think he’ll be around. And I think he’d be proud. And I’m pretty sure he put that name in my head. 

Cool Breeze . A name I hated, then laughed about and now love. 

Miss ya dad. 

Cool Breeze Cottage

Where I come from. 

I love cities. I love the pulse of them and the way you can walk to the shops and restaurants. I love the way the local people go about their lives while me -the visitor -watches them like they are a species. Maybe they are -city people. 

I was a city person for a short while. I lived in Boston for about a year in my twenties. I was part of the hustle and bustle. I walked to shops and I took the T down town to work everyday. I learned how to get on that T ( the Boston subway) – pushing my way in at rush hour -holding on tight to the silver rail or pole that spanned each car – packed in like sardines- and snagging a seat of it became available. And God help is if we had train trouble. Or another train had trouble. Being stuck in a train car like a sardine with no lights and no AC is a bitch. I can’t believe I didnt claw my way out when those things happened. I could not deal with that now. 

What I came to realize in the years since I left the city is that I was really a poser. I was not a city person. I was pretending to be one. 

While I lived in the city I took every opportunity to get out of it. Visiting the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. All of those visits involved camping and/or riding bikes all over those areas. We were on beaches and in the mountains. The city was where I worked and lived but it was in nature that I truly felt alive. 

When I flock to the city now I always gravitate to the parks or to the water. In Baltimore I love Fells point -bc it’s kitschy -but also because it’s on the water. I never stay long in the city. Just long enough to enjoy watching the real city people  -and maybe some of them are posers like I was. But I always leave to come home here to this little farm because I’m from Nature. Nature called me and she won. 

I’ve always found solace and peace in nature. I think we are drawn to what can balance us. And since I’ve been young I’ve been drawn to trees and the forest and to rocks and water. 

When I was a kid we had a small line of woods near our house and I had a special place I went to that was private but so close to the house I could see our backyard fence just feet away.  There was a big rock there and I could sit there and think -my hands running over the cold, smooth surface. There was a dirt path that led up through the woods. Houses flanked both sides. I could run up the path and pretend I was on my horse exploring strange lands. I could see the kitchen lights of our neighbors windows as evening fell. I’d walk in the house after being gone for hours.  Nobody worried. It’s just the way it was back then. 

“I’m going to the woods” was on my lips and came out of my mouth thousands of times during my childhood. I travelled alone or in packs with my neighborhood friends. I was known as the one who always fell in the creek. Sometimes it was by accident and sometimes it wasn’t.  I’d come home in soggy Danskins. Cold and wet but happy.  

I’m sure I escaped to the woods back then to escape the chaos that was part of my household. But it was more than that. It was like I felt more at home outside in the woods than I did indoors. 

I rode horses on Saturday’s at a farm 45 minutes from my suburban home. It felt like another world and I was so happy when I was there. I was sure I was supposed to be part of that world and not part of the confines of suburbia. I think I knew then where my heart wanted to be. 

My dad never liked farms. To him they didn’t represent the ideal world he had in his mind. He was kind of an inside the box thinker. I lived outside. And I followed my heart a lot even if it didn’t always work out. I’m the The Road less travelled type of girl – dad not so much. 

 I remember my dad taking us every so often to the Catoctin mountains about an hour outside where I lived. I loved going on those excursions with my dad. We would hike some. Then he’d drive around inside the pretty park. Once we took our dog and she puked in the car on the way there. Once or twice after visiting the park we stopped at a hamburger place in Thurmont , Md right outside the mountain park and we’d have small square hamburgers at this cute little restaurant. I always loved small towns and always wanted to live in one –and now I do. Those trips were special. My dad seemed more at ease, more focused and friendlier. Except for the time the dog puked in the car. 

 After my dad moved to Florida he would come North for fall and one year we went back to the Catoctins. He was excited to share that time with my kids. He travelled to Colorado regularly and the year before he died he took a bus trip across Idaho and into Montana and beyond. He took a cruise on the Rivers of France. That was so outside his comfort zone going outside the USA -but I’ll bet being on the water was enticing to him. 

 My dad also loved the beach. He lived the last years of his life on a small island on the Gulf side of Florida. As kids My family spent years going to the Maryland and Jersey shores every summer. He taught me how to ride waves. We ate Taylor burgers together from our favorite dive on the boardwalk on the jersey shore. 

Sometimes I am amazed at how similar we were. He just never saw it and I don’t think I did until he was gone. I wish it didn’t take death for me to see this similarity -I always looked for our differences. And we had a number of them but we both loved the beauty of the world. 

Sometimes he was the chaos I ran from to the woods to find the calm I craved -but maybe in his life he was running from the chaos inside himself. Maybe nature called to his heart like it does mine. 

It’s hard to walk into a canopy of trees and not feel enveloped in a hug from something not of the human world.   Or when you walk on the beach with the sounds of the waves and the gulls how can the heart rate not slow? 


I’m from nature. When I reach out to it it always reaches back and gives me just what I need. No wonder I often sleep with one earbud in with ocean sounds playing on my IPad. Or I crack my window open at night and can hear the snort of a horse and the crow of the roosters in the early morning. Farm sounds for free. 


I live in the country now.  We have neighbors but we have space too. I am 8 miles from a small town that I love -And not too from big cities. My place is here on my farm or at the beach. Or in the woods or at a lake. I am from nature.  

My world has been limited lately. My pain makes it hard to go out anywhere in the car. I hate being cooped up. I’m like a wounded eagle wanting to fly free. 


For now I have the lane next to my house-And the trees beside it and fields surrounding it. I try to walk everyday on the lane. I don’t make it that often but I try. I walk out the door and visit the chickens and ducks. Sometimes I have goodies to feed them. I step onto the lane -sometimes it’s dry, sometimes wet and sometimes soggy but it always calms me. 

If we open our hearts to nature it  will speak to us.  We are all part of the same thing but our humaness is a shield that hinders our connection. Drop the shield and the real world will reach out to us.  


On the lane I talk to God, my dad, my father in law, I pray, if I’m with my husband or one of my teens we chat. I take pictures. How can I have so many pictures of the same place? What a small world I live in. But the that world changes everyday. It is what nature does -it is never the same. 

I stop to take a picture and I’m somewhere else. I’m in the puddle looking at the branches of the trees in the reflection. I’m mesmerized by naked branches. I have so many pictures of the winter tree. 


But for a moment I’m not in pain.  I’m part of that tree. I’m part of that puddle. I’m part of those woods and of the cornfield. 

I come back inside and I’m grounded and whole. 

I am from nature.  

Finding our new “place”. 

Maybe it was a sign. I’m not sure. You can make anything good a sign that you should do something. Or something bad a sign that you should not. But maybe it was a sign.

Like the night before I was sitting in the car in front of a hotel in Saint Augustine Florida and we had been told that there was no room for us there. The hotel had been overbooked. So after 13 hours of driving the four of us (hubby,my boys and I) had no place to sleep.

“Maybe this is a sign that this isn’t where we should live “.  I said to nobody in particular as I sat in the car. My boys probably weren’t listening because at 15 they only wanted to get out of the car-get food in their guts-and get to sleep or back in their devices. Hubby was out trying to find us a room.

Maybe it was an omen. I didn’t want an omen. We had driven all the way from home in Maryland to Saint Augustine on the upper East Coast of Florida to see if this could be our new “place”. We had planned to stop in Georgia somewhere for the night as our real destination was Orlando, Fl. Kevin had a business meeting then a trade show to work there. I wanted to see Saint Augustine. Maybe see isn’t the right word. Maybe feel is. For some reason over the last maybe five years I have had this feeling I needed to see the area. I had a feeling it might be a good place for our next place to call home.

So our hotel room getting cancelled was not a great start. It also was dark so I couldn’t much of the area anyway. But as luck would have it Kevin found another room right next door to the hotel that cancelled us. It was their last room.  A good sign right?

So the next day as we drive around the cutest town I have ever seen my spirits were high. I wanted to see the ocean and check out the beaches of Saint Augustine.

Saint Augustine is broken up into sections. There is the main city part separated by the Matamzes River -cross the bridge onto highway A1A and you are at the beach area.

We drove a ways down the beach via Google maps. I love being able to see where I am in reference to everything else. I’m a map girl (geography major here). We parked along some beach homes somewhere past many of the condos and hotels.  (Later I would find out you can drive on the beach in some parts.).  We walked over the dunes via a small boardwalk  where we saw a turtle nesting -how beachy is that? Then we were met by a huge beautiful expanse of beach with very few people on it.


  
And there were lots of dogs with their people. Lots. Another sign?

Kevin and I began walking along the beach as the boys decided to hang back near the beach entrance ( one loves to find shells. The other likes to complain). We dipped our feet into the the cool water -we marveled at the size and beauty of the place. And we felt instantly at home there. Was it BC it was the beach? Or was it something else?

Maybe the dogs?

I kept wondering what the dog rules were for the beach there as there was so many dogs.  All on leads. In Maryland and Delaware  where we go dogs aren’t allowed on the main beaches all summer. And I get why. It gets super crowded but it’s a bummer that they can’t go on after five pm. A better time for dogs in hot weather anyway. A couple state beaches inDelaware  have beaches where dogs are allowed. Saint Augustine was in the middle of their busy time and dogs were on the beach. I was hoping this meant something good!

But I needed to ask someone. And just as I was thinking that,  a group of three people approached us. With a dog. So I stopped and asked them what the dog rules were.

“They can come out anytime but you have to have them leashed or you can get a ticket. We sometimes let her (their dog) off leash and watch for the sheriff!”

I laughed as this didn’t look like a rogue group. They were husband and wife and daughter. All over 50 -the parents being 70ish.

We got chatting a bit more about how they felt about the area -love it. Their daughter lives in Orlando-loves it.

Then we got into where everyone was from. The parents lived in Geogia still -part time. When we said we lived in Maryland all three of their faces lit up.

“We lived in Maryland! Where do you live?”

We said we live now in Carroll County but come from Montgomery (near Washington DC). They lit up again.

Turns out the daughter who thought she was way older than us (we figured out she was only about two years older but thanks for the compliment ) had gone to a high school where we knew many people and long story short she had known a friend of Kevin’s -who has since passed away -very well. She knew other names we tossed out too.

Was that a sign? That we are walking  along a random beach in Florida and walk up to random three people and they are from where we are from?  And know people we know? If anything it proves the world isn’t so big. But it felt like a sign to me.

And the way I was “feeling” about the place was pretty positive. I felt very at home. I loved that dogs are allowed on the beaches and there when we went to walk the city later there were many in town.

For me a move to somewhere else outside of Maryland- a place I lived all my life aside from one year in Boston -will have to be based on many things. Maybe signs are part of it but for me it has to be how of feel there. We also have to be practical. It has to work business wise for my husband. Which means near major highways and a major airport. It has to be near to a beach and I need to be able to put my horses someplace or have them on my land. The cost of living will hopefully be better as well.

But we also have to feel it. And for years now a place I never had been to except on tv and online felt like a place I needed to see.

I have worried that Florida would be to crowded and busy. Like many beach areas are and especially in the south. It will be.

Saint Augustine was busy during our visit. The beach was not crowded by my standards though. In my neck of the woods you have to get down to the beach to claim your spot early during the high season. Sometimes fights ensue over primes sand areas. You can hear the conversations of all around you. So the  beaches of Saint Augustine seemed deserted.

It’s almost surreal to think of a move south but the more we search for our place the more real it seems. I want warmth and sun and sand. I don’t want to wait ten years either. Waiting until the kids are done school high school is what we are hoping. So we have time to visit some places to see what we feel about them.

But Saint Augustine charmed the pants off me. And signs or no signs the feeling we got warrants more research.

As I’m writing this we are still in Florida but on the west coast now visiting my dad and his wife. While I love Marco Island it’s not a place that I’m feeling. I would want to live. It’s funny -those feelings.

On our way back north next week we plan to stop by Saint Augustine again to show our daughter Flagler College. She wasn’t on the trip down with us and she’s a junior And I think it’s worth a stop off.

Im excited to go there again -even for an hour. I feel the same pull to the place now  as I did before I ever saw it. Except now it’s more.

I’m looking foward to spending more time there. I’ll be doing my research and hoping in the end my feelings and practicality of living in a place will make sense together         . But in the end we might go with the gut and maybe rely on a few signs.

(I’ll write more about the city part in my next blog).

  

Time away- James Farm Ecological  Preserve. 

Last week we went on our summer beach vacation to our favorite destination- Bethany Beach, DE.  I went on this trek with my hubby, 3 teens, 2 dogs, and my mom.  I decided before we went I wanted to spend the week driving around Bethany and surrounding area – Millville- Ocean View – Frankford – and others – so we could get a feel of where we might want to live one day (hopefully sooner than later) and I just wanted to really see the area. There is a lot to it.

I have been coming to vacation in Bethany Beach for 45 years but I didn’t really know the area very well.  When you have just a short week at the beach it is usually spent sitting for hours by the ocean reading and then hitting a great eating spot for dinner. The area has grown enormously over the years as many people took advantage of Delaware’s low taxes and cost of living. I had not spent a lot of time seeing what was really around bc I was trying to soak up as much beach as I could. This time it was different bc my husband and I really want to live in that area and it is important while visiting to tool around in the car and see what the different areas offer.

So on Tuesday my mom, and husband – Kevin, and I took off in the car and drove and drove for a couple hours. The area isn’t huge so we saw a lot. Armed with GPS and Google maps I navigated(I love to do this so much) us around through different neighborhoods. At one point we came across a park -called the James Farm Ecological Preserve -that I had never seen before. I got out to take a look at the trail maps- I love maps- and I saw that the trails led through some forest to a beach on the Indian River Bay. It seemed like a cool place to hangout so after more neighborhood exploring,  we headed back home to drop my mom off- get some kids and a dog and go back to this park to explore.

The Bethany Beach area (inc. areas to the west of Route 1) has Ocean to the East and two bays to the north and south. Indian River Bay is to the north this bay feeds into the Rehoboth Bay further north and Little Assawoman Bay is to the south near Fenwick, DE. Another great town just north of Ocean City Md. Here is a map link of the Delaware shore so you can get a better feel of the area. The Delaware shore is also home to incredible shoreline state parks(Fenwick Island State Park, Delaware Seashore State Park and Cape Henlopen State Park). These parks have great beaches, fishing and much more. Here is a link to the Delaware state park info.

When we got back to the park it was later afternoon. We picked a trail that was more woodsy. Fifty feet in we were enveloped in trees and the peace of the place was palpable. It was hard to believe that this trail would lead to a sandy beach on the bay!  The walk was lovely and though it seemed like we might be in the woods forever soon enough we came upon the end of the trail and to a boardwalk that had an arrow that pointed to the beach. I think the walk to the beach took less than 15 minutes from the parking lot.  When we walked out to the beach we were met with very shallow water. There were some people just standing way out in less than waist deep water talking…some were collecting oysters. It was pretty cool. With the tide out the shallow area lasted for 50 yards or so. The water was clear so you could see the seaweed floating below along with small fish that jumped in and out of the water. It was peaceful.

I am not sure this is a well know place by visitors to the beach. It was very quiet and empty. A vast difference to the July beach scene on the ocean in Bethany! The best part dogs are allowed anytime. Bethany has a strict no dog rule on the beach from mid-may to end of September. The state parks allow dogs and some of the other Delaware beaches have less stringent rules allowing dogs on the beach before and after main beach hours. So to find this quiet place that allows dogs was great.

We spent about 30 minutes on the beach and then headed back to the car via another more direct trail. All trails were easy flat walks. I plan to visit again but next time with a beach chair, a book, sunscreen, and my dog….

Thanks for reading…..

More about the preserve: http://www.inlandbays.org/visit-us-james-farm-ecological-preserve/

The water was so shallow and you could walk out quite far…I think the deeper water is visible in the photo where the water line is darker.

Looking at the beach from the water. I hope to kayak next time we head to the beach.

The top of the shorter trail that leads to the bay.

The boardwalk trail that leads out to the beach…

Trying to catch the peace of the place…