In the winter, the ocean was visible from our kitchen window. In the summer, we had to venture up to the widow's walk to see it.
There weren't many days that I didn't look at the ocean; that I didn't gaze across the vast expanse, feel small, and just awe at its largeness and beauty.
Even if I couldn't see it, I'd just have to lift my head a bit, sniff around, and know where the water was.
I wondered, when I moved to Vermont, how badly I would miss the ocean.
I didn't. Didn't miss it at all.
Vermont's mountains made me feel small. The were vast. And large. And visible from far more vantage points than the ocean. What I learned to love about Vermont, was that there were spectacular views every two feet; greenest mountains, farms of rolling hills, vast expanses of peaceful waters.
Vermont was my middle of nowhere, my favorite place. I could hop on my bike and ride for an hour without encountering another human. I could hop in my car and take a left, a right, an unfamiliar dirt road, and be blissfully lost for hours.
Solitude, that was my favorite.
Al and I wanted that peace and solitude for our children. Our unborn children were our motivation for moving to that middle of nowhere.
We never had any intention of leaving our fortress of solitude.
And here we are. In the middle, but not of nowhere.
And now that I'm back, living on the coast, I can't bring myself to brave the beaches.
There are several, less than a 15 minute drive from my doorstep, but I have little interest.
Getting kids ready, getting there before the lot fills up, paying to park, dragging the kids the 15 minute walk from the lot, across the bridge over the dunes, finding a proper spot, setting up camp for the day, hoping I'd remembered to bring everything, sunblock, drinks, snacks, toys, towels, dragging both kids back over bridge if/when someone needs to pee, engaging in battle of wills when one child insists on eating crap from concession stand and not what I'd packed, not to mention that the Deaf kid can't hear shit with the sound of the wind and waves, even with his hearing aids - which aren't going to be accompanying us to the beach anyway.
I'm all set with the fucking beach.
There is a pond, a little body of water for which the road I live on is named, that is making me feel like the middle of nowhere is right around the corner.
There is no public beach. The dirt road is not marked. Only a local would know what lies down that unmarked path.
Seven minutes from my driveway and we're there.
This week we got lucky and got a spot every day (except the day that it was 100 degrees, that day we were at the fucking mall).
Lucky because there are only a half a dozen spots to pull off the dirt road and park a vehicle.
A half dozen private little 8 foot stretches of sandy beach and water that is far warmer than the ocean.
Water that Owen has taken to like a Deaf little fishy.
It matters very little that he can't hear, it is only the three of us, on our own private beach. Without the sound of the wind and surf, if I have to get his attention I can yell loud enough for him to hear me, to look at me, so that I can sign to him.
It matters little that Bea isn't a big fan of the water. She can sit in her chair and talk to her friends. 'New Socks' has joined us recently. She is a good swimmer, and she "Talks Deaf".
In this place, just minutes from my driveway, I can pretend for a moment here and there, that my world wasn't turned upside down. That my children could live the childhood that I'd dreamed for them.
And on this day, a day that I revere more than the day that Owen was born, what better place to start off the celebration? Our new found middle of nowhere.
And what a day for Owen to take his first boat ride with his Daddy, and catch a fish - on the first cast.
And set it free.
And what a day, to join Owen and Bea's aunts and uncles and cousins in an impromptu celebration of their Mema's birthday, a day she shares with Owen's homecoming.
Owen doesn't know it yet, that the yard he ran around in today was his first home outside a hospital.
That this is not the home we intended for him.
That though Al and I might not all the way love it here;
We way more than halfway love it.