Seemed like we had just arrived on Cape Cod for our cautious “summer vacation” when it was time to pack up and head back to our prospective homes. Our daughter had researched Cape rentals after the first of this year when we were still blissfully unaware of the runaway pandemic freight train headed our way in 2020. We secured the rental soon after and allowed ourselves to dream of hot July summer days on the beach while the snow fell outside our windows. As the coronavirus began its insidious journey around the world our hopes of a shared vacation began to fade. Months of social distancing began to ease, and the rental property seemed possible if we were smart and very careful. Very careful. Extremely careful.
The week quickly flew by as vacations do. Moments of pre-pandemic normalcy filled our walks along the beach and chats around the dinner table. Conversations were heartfelt, playful yet with some regularity dipped into the serious issues of our day. Impossible to completely bury one’s head in the nearby beach sand. A wonderful week spent together. Unsure when we will next be able to gather as the pandemic looms large. We can take nothing for granted right now. A bittersweet parting was newly defined.
Saturday arrived. Change over day on the Cape. Cleaning, packing, going room to room to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind. Dashing around lost in my own diligence while focusing on the clock on the wall telling me that our 10 a.m. deadline was quickly approaching in spite of my waking before dawn.
The kitchen had become our temporary staging area where bed linens, drawing supplies, paper towels and suitcases filled a fair amount of the kitchen floor real estate. Overwhelmed by the mound of stuff I decided to take a moment to go outside and breathe in that ocean air while my eyes memorized the spectacular water view, I was already homesick for. Walking from the house towards the ocean on the uneven sandy walkway I quickly arrived at the first deck continuing just a few more steps while advancing down a wooden flight of stairs leading to the second deck that seemed to be levitating high above the ocean. A dramatic vertical drop from the landing offered only a hint of the rustic stairs down to the beach.
The sun was climbing high early Saturday morning after the previous cold and gray day had cleared. The sun’s presence could not be denied. The tide had begun to recede back into the ocean leaving only traces of the flood current as it marked the first and final number of stairs. Ebb and flow. Coming and going. Ebb and flow. Decline and regrowth. Ebb and flow.
I took in a very deep breath as if to drink in the incredible week we had shared together. I wanted to relive it one more time as I mentally held on to each precious moment. I opened my misty eyes and was delighted by the distant image before me. I saw my daughter and her husband sitting in their beach chairs like an island looking out over the vast ocean as they enjoyed every last vestige of vacation before it too faded away like the tide that surrounded them. Just the two of them. Just the three of them. A couple, a couple that soon will be parents come September. First time parents. A family. They were an island. Needing no one else. Needing nothing else but one another. The world continued to turn but clearly it was standing still for them.
“Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing.” Paulo Coelho