Two walks to our beach today. One early, as planned and pictured here. One in the early afternoon, without pictures, in a light, soft, warm rain.
My brother and I, our children, we have gone on many family walks over many summers and falls. Today, my brother who lives on the Island drove over with his son. With my husband, son, daughter, we all walked with the dogs down the dirt road, past the brickyard, and down the rickety wooden steps to the deserted beach. My nephew brought his fishing poles. Since I had my earlier walk and swim, I didn't intend to go in. The clouds were low, and the rain fell lightly on our heads in the gray afternoon reminding me of summers ago, when we all shared ownership of a rustic, tiny cottage with a dock on Laurel Lake. Weekends, when we would all gather with my mother and aunt in their nearby cabins, we would gather up the kids for hikes around the lake, in any weather. I loved being with my kids, my brothers, all of our kids, crying or happy, under the pine trees, singing and talking and arguing and snacking and beating back the mosquitos. Such camaraderie. And today, too. First, my brother swam over the rocks in the Sound. Then, my daughter. She asked if I was coming in, so I shed my shorts and jumped in. Yes, yes, every moment of a summer day near a body of salt or sweet water, why not get wet? My son joined us. Then my husband. Then my nephew abandoned his fishing pole, he swam too. The rain fell on our wet heads. The gulls cried, the dogs growled over sticks they retrieved from the sea. My brother reminisced. As children, we often swam in Laurel Lake in the rain. We spoke of our mother, our father, who took us swimming in any weather. Soon, we grabbed our towels, hiked back up the dirt road. Our kids are grown now. We were the kids. We are the grown ups. We are the parents who will be long gone, remembered, fondly, by the ones we leave behind, for these swims, these hikes, these fresh and happy afternoons.