the times we had

Today the kids and I took a day trip to Pacific Beach and now I want nothing more than to do something like this every day. The weather was so warm, so stunningly sunny and all of this fell on the most lush and beautiful countryside I’ve ever been a part of. My children were so happy to be taking a trip and we were listening to Andrew Bird’s “Armchair Apocrypha” (I finally caught the bug from Ralph who is listening to it incessantly). The soaring orchestration of the music and the sunshine, heading out to the beach my father recommended yesterday while he was (once again) at the hospital getting his Special Poison and my two very, very precious children in my car – it all kind of overwhelmed me for about twenty minutes as we drove and listened to music loud and us silent.

Lunch was packed in a basket; another basket held enough extra clothes, towels, and sunscreen to make sure nothing much could ruin our excursion. The beach itself was beautiful, the sand like warm silk and hardly anyone else in sight. We wandered up the river outlet, looking for sand dollars and my children being happy with literally any significant or not-so-significant find.

Nels beachcombed very specific items: a startlingly green slimey stripe of seaweed, a smooth oblong sandstone rock (why this one was special I don’t know), a lovely spiral shell, and a thick leaf with a bruise on it. He carried them over a mile of wandering – I finally helped put them in his hoodie pocket (later on the drive home he politely asked for them to hold). Regarding the four inch strip of seaweed he led me all the way to the river outlet and asked me to put it back in. By this point it was 100% encrusted with sand. As I gently tossed it in the water it magically became new and I realized he’d led me to exactly the spot he’d first captured it.

We finally made it down to the Ocean Proper and after some wading I sat and watched my children run and laugh and make their own games up. The air was just incredible; salty and warm and refreshingly wet. The one other family there disappeared into mist and for a large swath of my view it looked as if we were at the End of the World with no one else.

My daughter hurt her hand playing; we made our way back to the kids’ boots and then the car, a cold rinse off (next time, bring quarters for hot water showers), fresh clothes, and bundled back inside, refreshed and invigorated. For ten minutes or so we lunched in the car (cucumbers and carrots with hummus, whole wheat rolls with string cheese, and an apple) and I put the music back on and we drove home.

Days like today are a paradise of their own.

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