I am writing this from my 8th floor hotel room. My ears are cold from the wind, my hair blown out like a frizzy halo. It is not beach weather. When I walked back from the gift store having bought presents for my precious children left at home, there was not a soul on the beach. I could see a mile in either direction. No one was there but me and the gulls. I think, maybe, even they thought I was crazy.
What is it about the ocean wind that blows the mind clean? Even my thoughts take on a fine-edged clarity. A pale lovely woman with a faded holey shirt, tattooed, rough around the edges and a handsome young black man helped me pick my presents, staying open five extra minutes so I could find something for the five kids at home. They were the solid workers, the ones who stay on after the seasonal rush, stuck by reasons all their own in the barren tourist town, helping the occasional traveler, like myself, who is only here on business.
The buildings along the seaside were gray and drab without the colored towels and swim suits, without rainbow umbrellas, and a hundred different shades of skin, coolers with cool drinks, lawn chairs and beach toys to distract from their blocky solid stance, the first stone barrier against the sea. In one room, a Christmas tree stood, its twinkling bright lights the only thing to be seen. In another, dark shapes moved across the window, ghostly, silent people thinking lonely thoughts behind the glass.
For me, this great quiet solitude is entirely new. Never before in my life has my time been wholly my own to manage. No dinner to prepare, or homework to complete, no stories, complaints, no fights to break up. I miss my noisy brood, but find this vast emptiness of duty to be other-worldly. I am my own self and nothing else. Time is mine to do with as I choose, and so I sit here and write and sip hot-soy-chocolate, legs curled under me, listening to the hum of the heating unit as it tries to thaw out my ears. There is a waterbirth article I need to write that will be translated into Russian. My fingers know the keys and my mind hums like the heater in anticipation. Words slide their way through my wind-clear mind and lay themselves onto this page. And so, in pure, sweet contentment, I am writing.