Sunday morning at the beach.
Not at the Big Lake (if you’re from around here, you know that means Lake Michigan).
No. We chose a quiet beach. Man-made lake. At a State Park.
We pulled the black mini-van (dubbed “Minnie” by my daughter) into the parking lot. One other vehicle parked there.
“See. This is why I love this beach,” I said to my husband. “Empty.”
Three row boats with pairs of fishermen. One man walking along the beach. His wife, skin browned to a shade only accomplished by many hours in the sun. With baby oil.
And us. My husband and me. Our babies who have recently taken the shape of kids. Smart, loving, kind kids.
Yes. We are blessed.
I spread a beach blanket on the sand. Sat down on it. Watched a few of my kids grab shovel and bucket to dig for treasure. Another child jumped up and down. Happy to be on the sand. To feel its warmth on her feet. I dug my toes in, letting the grains of sand that can’t even outnumber Abraham’s descendants rub against my skin.
Then my husband lunged into the water. Splashing. Dipping under the surface. Inviting us to join him. They ran to him. Then one stopped short of the cool water. He looked out. Then to me, still on the towel.
I got up. Slipped off my cover-up. Pretended that I didn’t feel exposed in my bathing-suit. Stepped into the water. To my ankles. Shins. Knees. Thighs. Waist. Chest.
Lowering myself into the cold, but refreshing water, I played with my kids. Splashing them. Holding them in my arms as I bobbed up and down. We watched the sea gulls fly over, dip to the water to catch a minnow lunch.
“Come ride my back,” my husband called to them.
He swam with all of them cheering for their “sea horse”.
I leaned back into the water. Spread my arms wide. Let my feet float up to the surface. Moved along the water on my back. The grace of movement in water that I can never achieve on land.
The sky above. Blue. The kind of blue that makes your heart swell just a little. For something that was pure. Easy. Like swimming on your back in a quiet lake.
Not a wire around me. No sound of television or car or technology.
Just the clear blue above me. The sound of whooshing water in my ears. The weightlessness of floating.
A hymn of creation.
A psalm of simplicity.
A chorus of thanksgiving.
To the One.
Who painted the sky.
Scooped out the lakes.
Set to life the sea gulls.
The man walking on the beach.
The woman, tanned to brown.