Friday, July 26, 2013

A Bitchin' Beach

Mom and I found ourselves with a free afternoon today. She wanted to chill out with some knitting (her words) (not really) but I wanted to see if I could find a beach we discovered on one of my previous visits. It was a town beach, which means you can only get in with a purchased sticker, which Mom has. It was less crowded than other beaches and it had a natural, untouched feel. Kind of like me in high school.

I headed out alone, leaving Mom to get jiggy wit her knitting. I remembered every turn, so there was no problem finding the entrance. The first time we came to this beach, there were two Nazi park rangers manning the guard house who didn't care that Mom's car had the requisite sticker. Mom wasn't with us, so they wouldn't let us in. We returned with her but since she wasn't in the driver's seat, they almost asked us to turn around again. grr!!

So, I was psyched- and skeptical- when I saw that the guard house was not only empty but boarded up. The gate was open. I wondered what kind of trap those sticklers were setting for me. "YOU VIL EXIT!!" I expected them to cry, as they jumped from the bushes. I entered slowly.

Sorry the photo is blurry. I was scared.

Branches and leaves littered the road as if a tornado or a stray elephant had just come through. And then a deer walked by. This was no public beach, my friend.

I admit the whole scene was strange, but I continued on. The parking lot was completely empty, perhaps due to the zombie apocalypse I assumed I'd find on the shore. Or maybe it was the rain.

So here's the part in a well-written story where all is revealed- why the whole place seems to be abandoned. Perhaps Hurricane Sandy washed away the beach? Maybe this stretch was taken over by a pack of wolves? Or worse- a real estate developer??

Heh- joke's on you. I never promised a well-written story. The beach seemed to be abandoned because it kinda was. That's all. And I loved it.

The only other living thing as far as the eye could see was this unfriendly seagull. He refused to pose for a picture. Hmpf!

I dove in head first!! No, silly, not into the water. What are ya, crazy? I jumped right into my favorite past time: beach combing. You see, I've got a plan. When we retire, I'm gonna make these awesome things using the gorgeous shells, rocks and beach glass I find and then sell them to the snooty rich people in The Hamptons. I can't tell you what these "things" are because you'll totally steal my idea. They're that good. No lie. For realz.

Oh and eventually those snooty rich people will be my neighbors. It's all part of the plan. And on an unrelated note, can I borrow a couple million dollars?  

Anyway, scouring the beach netted some incredible booty. Blue beach glass, y'all! BLUE! One of the hardest colors to find. Don't be jealous. Totally worth the two hours it took to find it.

While I raked my raw fingers through the stones (nothing worth having comes easy, people), I noticed helicopters flying overhead. In Calgary, we only saw choppers when there was a news story or wicked traffic for them to cover. I wondered what could be so interesting? Perhaps the blue glass? "Old woman finds awesome beach glass. Hamptons Mavens all a-buzz."

Yeah, right. Let's get real! You can't see beach glass from a helicopter. But if they could, man, they'd be all over it. Anyway, it finally dawned on me that those helicopters were probably headed to the Hamptons. It's a long, congested drive out there from the city. My future neighbors take a chopper. If they were smart, though, they'd save some of that helicopter money for my must-have things.

I didn't get a photo of the helicopters, but, trust me, they were up there.

And their passengers were probably looking down at me with envy, wishing they were on that wild, abandoned beach. Or maybe they were wistfully thinking that their big, old houses could use something really special on the walls. Preferably made with shells, rocks and beach glass. Just you wait, you rich people/future neighbors, just you wait.

Au Revoir

 (I wrote this in May but didn't post it. Life became hectic!)


I haven't been writing because I've been sad. And busy. My husband's assignment here in Calgary ended abruptly and we're being sent back to the states. The snow is (mostly) gone, there are buds on the trees and it's once again a life-affirming act to walk along the river.

And we have to leave. I can't tell you in one blog post what living here has meant to us. We love the urban life style: walking everywhere, living close to work, church and friends. Calgary is built for exactly that. When the weather's bad, you just jump into the Plus-15 (the enclosed walkways that snake throughout downtown) where all the action is anyway. On Friday nights, we meet whatever friends are available for dinner and never have to worry about having a second glass of wine. Our home is a short walk away.

I've gotten into the habit of looking up towards the sky for the Calgary Tower when I'm walking in the city. I have no idea why it makes me smile to see it there. I guess it's comforting to see it rising up like the moon, leading me in the right direction.

My husband and I moved here without the kids. Both of our boys had lives of their own by the time our transfer to Calgary was offered. In fact, we left the dog behind, too. For the first time in a very long time, we found ourselves the only two warm bodies moving through the space we lived in. We developed new routines that involved just the two of us. We took off on weekends and stayed in hotels. We made each other laugh. Calgary has been good for us.

I don't want to go. I like our routines. I like this city. I like knowing our favorite waitress by name and all of the shortcuts through the Plus 15. I love that I can see the mountains from my balcony.

Calgary will barely notice when I’m gone. I was just another magpie soaring through her air. But as I moved through the city, I breathed in her cold crispness in winter and the scent of flowers in the spring. She became a part of me and I’ll never, ever forget her.