Once the clouds drifted north, it didn’t take long for the heat to take over. The air was still and heavy. Today we had the small beach almost to ourselves, unlike yesterday when it was so full I was reluctant to sit on the sand-too close to too many people. I opted for the grassy hill in front of our house instead and convinced my mom to sit there with me.
This summer we’ve had precious few moments like this, my mom and I. Time to sit on the beach and talk about everything and nothing. Time to read or watch boats or just be. Time to lose all track of time. Some days are too hot, some I’m too busy on the phone and in front of my computer, and sometimes we’ve just given in to the not-really-summer-feel of this very strange summer.
Today though, we found time. Except it got so warm we had to relocate to the water, which thankfully had warmed to just over 70 degrees. The jellyfish were nowhere to be seen today. They’re here too early this summer. Then again, nothing’s quite right this summer.
My mother waded into the water, taking slow, deliberate steps, navigating the rocky surface and brushing aside clumps of seaweed. I kept a watchful eye- there are no good falls for an 85 year-old. Finding a sandy spot to stand, she turned toward the shore and beckoned me to join. I grabbed the big inner tube, feeling lazy and undecided about how wet and cold I wanted to be and wobbled over the rocks, just far enough in to place the float in front of me and ease backwards into it, my legs hanging over one side, my shoulders resting on the other. The water cooled my feet, ankles, wrists, hands and backside and I paddled towards where my mom stood waist-deep. The moment felt normal and familiar in this not so normal world.
The conversation we’d begun while sitting on the sand resumed and wandered from topic to topic- my daughter’s job search, our plan for tonight’s dinner, her cat’s health, the neighbors who aren’t in their beach home this summer for the first time in memory, Dr. Fauci, the President, and of course the virus. Always the virus. I can’t remember a conversation with anyone where talk of the virus didn’t creep in.
We stayed there for an hour, in the water, cooling off, being together, talking about everything and nothing, the way we do every summer. And for that moment it felt almost like summer.