Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
And so closes a beach week of magnificent moons, endless conversation and constantly-changing winds and fronts.
And by endless conversation, we're talking about descending into discussions of which excellent words have fallen out of usage due to the dumbing-down of language.
Let's bring back "togs" and "dither," shall we? And don't get me started on the subject of "Hollywood packing," a term new to me but instantly understandable, because we already went down that rabbit hole.
My cleverest guest played the winds superbly, moving from the West bedroom to the East suite once the winds did the same. She learned the hard way that the summer sunrise will penetrate eyelids and burn your retina if you let it, but she never lost the breeze.
A couple of overcast days and lower temperatures kept tan lines in check and me (and my rotating cast of six visitors) on the porch far more than usual. Not ashamed to admit that one afternoon slid seamlessly into evening with little change in seating arrangement or pauses for wardrobe changes.
After an especially lazy day, a guest acknowledged the naked truth, saying, "All I did yesterday was ripen." Perhaps, but her hygiene instincts kicked in before mine and I feel sure I was even riper.
In fact, I'm thinking a compliment about my "beach hair" may have been a reference to the sand and salt in it.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
The first rule of beach vacation is that there are no food police and the second rule is that there are no bathing police, either. We are not here to impress each other, except with our sparkling repartee.
One major result of having so much company and conversation was how little beach reading I accomplished this week. Past years have won me summer reading awards for sheer number of titles devoured and this year's consumption was a paltry two books, including the lackluster Pulitzer prize winner I regretted wasting time on.
When it was time to pack up the cottage and head back to the big city, I left with the usual regrets - since arriving home, I'm missing the constant breezes almost as much as the rhythm of the waves - along with the novel thrill of knowing I'm only a few days away from vacation number two.
Lucky me, right?
The drive back was my baptism by road reminder of the real world that awaited me: a sign on Route 168 warning, "Expect heavy congestion at next light," causing me to wonder why displaying that information was necessary at all.
Is unexpected heavy congestion somehow harder to bear? Honestly, who really needs to start obsessing about congestion ahead of time?
But wait, it gets better. All was clear at the next light, so the fear mongering was for naught.
Otherwise, it was a pretty inoffensive drive past gas stations offering $1.99 gas and a vintage car show at Ronnie's Barbecue, with the highlight being a woman riding a horse along the Capital Bike Trail, something I'd never seen among the Spandex-clad bikers, happy families and walkers galore.
It's no hawk soaring over the Atlantic, which we saw repeatedly from our porch perch, but it'll have to do, at least until I sally forth on Vacation Part Deux, stylish and not at all ripe.
Warning: unexpected heavy fashion emphasis on next trip. It's almost time for some Hollywood packing, so excuse me while I dither about which frocks to take.
I'm sorry my beach vacation is over, but I'm glad to be back so I can leave again.