The Boy and I are at the beach for a few days in what a few years ago I realized was an important piece of a healthy ministry - getting away in October.
There is a small area of space in October that is post-September start up and pre-hectice holiday where I try to carve out a week of vacation. Usually no matter how much time I took in the summer, I need it and I know even before we hit Thanksgiving I will be grateful that I took it.
This year marks the last for the next 14 that I will be able to go to the beach this time of year since The Boy begins Kindergarten next year. I will still take the time (most likely a stay-cation) but his schedule will keep us from making the trek a few hours east for deep gulps of salty air and chilly water.
I won't miss out on the beach entirely. There are plans for our family to share 2 weeks together on a shore somewhere this summer, see how it goes and maybe make a tradition of it. But I will miss this.
I love the beach in the fall. Not everybody gets it. I saw more than one shake of the head and worries that the weather wouldn't be warm enough as I announced my plans in a new setting where they don't know me as well. I grew up by the beach and spent 10 years in Florida, so the beach not being warm enough to lay there and actually feel the beads of sweat dripping down your arms and back is not exactly a loss for me.
Been there. Done that. Won a t-shirt in the volleyball tournament.
I like the smaller crowds. I like that the stores and restaurants that are open are the ones the locals go to. I like the push and pull of a little bit of a chill in the air offset by the intensity of a sun that is not quite ready to give up. I like the rhythm of sweatshirt-sweatpants-t-shirt-shorts and back to sweatshirt-sweatpants.... all in the same day and all with flip-flops. I like that there is less need to be focused on making sure you don't lose your child in the mass of umbrellas and towels and more opportunity to be focused on how we can carry all of those beach pebbles and shells back to our room.
Today was a good day. I am thankful for this last grab at summer and at sabbath and for this time with The Boy who is not going to be The Boy all that much longer.