Although this was written a couple years back, I’m sharing it today in honor of my dog, Libby.
If you believe in soul mates, as I do, then perhaps you won’t find it too far-fetched when I say that I believe she is my soul dog. We were destined to find one another. Yes, I was grief stricken and traumatized when I purchased her, but I like to think that I experienced one clear moment when our eyes met, and that wrinkled, little face made me fall in love right then and there.
For a long time she has been the one, pure constant joy in my life each day. How therapeutic she has been. At the time this was written she was my baby, and I had no intention of having human children. Go ahead, roll your eyes at me. It’s okay. Yes, Lib was my baby for a long time. She just turned six last month. Libby, this one is for you…
I love the beach. Many people do. It is a rather generic statement: “I love the beach.” Yet, I don’t believe that it has lost its meaning, at least for me. The beach is new and invigorating. Always. The tide comes in and it goes out, taking with it every trace of yesterday. This is why I love it so much.
The holidays, for the past four years, have been filled with grief and angst. Yet, 2010 was very much a year of new beginnings for me, and so Thanksgiving weekend at the beach seemed like the perfect idea. I browsed for an available beach house, and found an adorable little beachfront cottage. I couldn’t wait to get there.
The day to leave finally came, and I wanted to arrive at the coast as soon as possible. Check-in was at 2pm. As per usual before leaving for a trip, I had left many things undone until the last minute. Packing, a much needed oil change, picking up groceries were among some of my morning errands. I rushed around, and finally we were ready to leave at about 1:30pm. Ben loaded the car, and then we were on our way.
I always drive. I get carsick if I don’t, and secondly, but equally important, I like the feeling of control. I do whatever I can to gain control in situations. If I’m ever out of control, I am out of control on purpose. I never used to be this way, but grief and suffering will do this to a person. I am used to it now. It is part of me.
I look forward to music on road trips. I live with a patient man. He doesn’t care that I like to listen to trashy hip-hop music on most long drives. In fact, it came out on this particular drive that he really, really likes Rihanna. I felt satisfied with this confession. So we listened to hip hop for awhile, followed by some alternative rock, and one or two country songs sprinkled in to keep us grounded. Then, I had quite enough of the radio, and it was time to switch to a CD. Problem was, I had neglected to plan music options for this trip or bring my iPod, and so I would be left at the mercy of whatever was in the six disc CD changer. I clicked each button one by one. My fingers quickly rejected every option. Last one: hope flowed through me. My hope was not in vain. “Dizzy” by the Goo Goo Dolls filled our car.
I adore the Goo Goo Dolls. Maybe my love for them is purely sentimental or maybe they genuinely make good music. I accept the fact that I cannot be objective about this issue. Either way, I was relieved to have them along for the trip, especially this particular album. Dizzy Up the Girl always reminds me of being a teenager in love. I loved falling in love as a teenager. It was so much better than falling in love as an adult. “I wanna wake up where you are/I won’t say anything at all.”
Nostalgia swept over me. I was filled and emptied as individual memories washed upon me. I wanted to catch some of them, and hold them, but they wouldn’t let me. They were here, and then they were gone. Waves.
We arrived. I was quiet. It was already evident that this would be an introspective weekend. The reflective mood the music had brought on was only the beginning of many other reflections I knew would occur in the next couple days. I walked up to the cottage and felt soothed by the familiarity of “beach house smell”. I don’t need to describe it. You know what I’m talking about. The view was better than I had hoped it would be, and I didn’t want to tear my eyes from the ocean. I began to dread leaving, and I had only been inside for five minutes.
The evening was peaceful. Inspiring. Candles were lit on the dining room table; piles of books stacked at my side. Their very spines empowered me to continue on, deep into the dark. I stayed up past midnight writing. I hadn’t done that in far too long. I kind of wanted to stay up all night and write.
Libby woke me up whimpering about 7:30am. I wasn’t ready to get up. This is one of the perks of having a dog for a child. I don’t necessarily have to get up when I hear crying. Although, once jarred from sleep, I became acutely aware of my full bladder, and considered getting up. I waited for as long as I could, in tepid agony, before rising, and allowing my bladder a fresh start to the new day. I pulled on jeans and a hoodie, and took a peek out the window. Clear sky. Libby and I ran outside to explore a beach we had both never set foot on.
I have no memories of being at Twin Rocks. It is energizing to touch a place you’re unfamiliar with. I think that this could quite possibly be love at first sight for me. I believe in love at first sight, you know.
The ocean foamed a ‘good morning’ to the two of us. I loved watching Libby run free… happy, so content, so taken with the moment she was experiencing. She teaches me so much, and this morning was no exception. I wanted to be more like her. While walking along the beach I was strangely comforted by all of the white, broken seashells. They were everywhere. I eyed a piece closely, and wondered about the journey that brought it here. I felt a kinship with this shell.
As we walked back to the cottage for breakfast, food being the motivating factor for drawing us away from the beach, I stopped to turn around and look back at Twin Rocks. There was a rainbow right between them. I’m not sure how you feel about rainbows, but every time I see one Ithink of hidden promises. Okay, I admit it. I like to combine the story of Noah and the Ark along with tales of Leprechauns and pots of gold. Why couldn’t they both be true?
Hidden promises. An interesting paradox that has kept me company all morning. The sky is gradually gathering more grey, and they waves are looking a little more restless. Libby is staring at me from her lofty place on the back of the couch, also reminding me of promises, as her name means “God’s Promise”. Before a downpour begins, some of those shattered shells are going to be retrieved to remind me of those promises kept, those broken, and those yet to be made and thus their future still unknown.