Saturday, May 30, 2009
We just arrived home this afternoon from two weeks of blissful vacation in Holden Beach, North Carolina. We originally were just staying one week, but the beach bug always bites hard, and so we decided to stay another week. I feel rested and refreshed...all that fresh salty air, beach-combing, and hours watching my children romp in the surf.
Beach living is the perfect family vacation...simple, relaxing, beautiful.
I enjoyed getting myself into a simple routine as soon as we arrived. Many people view a vacation as "time off" from house-keeping or a schedule. For me, finding a simple rhythm even while on vacation brings me more rest...I like to keep my living atmosphere serene and uncluttered no matter where I am. My love for domesticity transcends to any living space that I am in... whether my own home or a rented one!
In the mornings I would pull up the lovely coastal cottage-y quilts on all of the beds and open the bedrooms' blinds. And then a quick check to make sure beach towels and swimsuits were ready for the day. A load of laundry would be started...and then a cup of hot coffee enjoyed out on the porch overlooking the ocean. We had nice breakfasts in the mornings...Mike would fix us our standard scrambled eggs and sausage or I would make some baked french toast or a sausage/egg/cheese casserole. I love a hearty breakfast especially when I know we will be spending most of our day outdoors.
The dishwasher would then be unloaded and re-loaded...and fresh kitchen towels and dishcloths would be set out. Everything in the "common living areas" put away nice and neat before the morning ritual of sunscreen application and the gathering together of beach gear (a good book, water bottles, and snacks...and boogie boards and buckets for the kids). And then off to the beach for 3 hours until lunch time! The children played in the waves or took walks or had imaginative sand play. I spent my time shell-seeking and sitting in a beach chair either watching the surf and wildlife, thinking, reflecting or reading (or holding Will...the beach made him extra cuddly and wanting to hug constantly!)
An orderly and fresh beach home would welcome our sandy, hungry bodies. It was so nice to have taken the time (which really wasn't much) to keep the basics running smoothly.
And after dinner at night, I had a small, steady routine. Turn down the children's beds, lay out their pj's for them, close their blinds, turn on bedside lamps, and place new reading material out. Make sure the kitchen is tidy...and all the day's laundry put away. Fluff the couch pillows. Sweep up sand. Turn on living room lamps and pick out the evening entertainment...a book? quilt for the baby? a game with family? a movie?
Finally it would be time for sweet sleep. I sought to keep my sleeping rhythm the same that I enjoy at home...lights out around 10:30 or so...with our bedroom window opened slightly so that the sound of the ocean would lull me to sleep. To keep the same sleep schedule helps the transition from home to vacation to home again feel so much better and I think our bodies and minds appreciate the continuity.
Living at the beach soothes and satisfies. The children play hard and well and long. The adults can actually sit and savor: life and nature and exercise and conversation and books and ideas and a true form of simple living. The daily rhythm lends itself to healing and rest and recovery.
I am now invigorated. I entered our home this afternoon with a clearer perspective and emotional energy. I enjoyed seeing all the growth that has happened while I have been gone with my herbs, my flowers, and my little garden. And then I spent an hour sprucing up my kitchen with some darling vintage finds from a few antique shops I enjoyed in Shallotte, NC. A fresh floral vintage tablecloth was laid across our table for dinner with the center decorated with fresh cuttings from our blooming gardenia bush (placed in five simple, clear, recycled jars!)...the smell is fabulously intoxicating!
And so my domesticity returns from the beach with me.