Do you remember that song, “Over the River and Through the Woods”? I experienced that today. Only it wasn’t going to my grandmothers house. It was going to the beach. This morning the whole family woke with a sense of excitement. Not only were we going on a picnic…. we were going to a completely new park! How fun! What we didn’t expect, was the drive would take us through a landscape that would have us wow-ing long before we made it to the beach.
I live in an agricultural area. My tiny town is surrounded by fields upon fields of lush, green vegetables. My daughter enjoys looking out the window and shouting, “Lettuce!” or “Strawberries!”. She is always so amazed at the variety of vegetables grown here. I love that she knows so many different types of healthy foods. I’ll pat myself on the back for that one. So as we headed into the middle of town we made a sharp left turn and headed away from our usual route. My daughter grinned knowing that today our drive would be different. As we passed the large, industrial plants she marveled at the crates upon crates of strawberries. “They look so good, Mom” she said, her tiny face glued to the window. “Yes they do”, I replied and we kept on driving.
The fields of lettuce heads slowly turned to rolling hills of wildflowers and marshy lowlands. I knew we were getting close. As we drove down a single lane road my mind drifted back to the South. I remember taking long, lazy Sunday drives when I was younger. The rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains were beautiful no matter what time of year. The tall grass that covered the shoulder put Georgia on my mind. This particular park that we were going to is actually a nature preserve. Park rangers were out and about checking the wildlife and tending to the grounds. As we slowed to a crawl we all gasped as eagles flew overhead. Small birds chirped from the trees and flowers of every color mixed into the high grass. It truly felt like Spring.
Rounding a corner it was as if we were transported again. Still in the nature preserve but nearing the coast the dry grass suddenly faded away and there were large sand dunes as far as the eye could see. My family and I stared in shock. Dunes that towered on each side of the road had us feeling like we were driving through mini-valleys. The sun shone brightly against the warm sand and only sparse driftwood poked out here and there from the sand. “It feels other-worldly”, my husband said softly. And he was right. Moments ago we were in a dry, forest and now we were in a desert. This place was magical! Fences lined each side of the road and prevented people from encroaching on the wildlife within. We strained our eyes to get a peek at what critters were crawling and flying around.
No sooner had we adjusted to the sandy dunes did we come over a large hill and see the small parking lot that lay just before the beginning of the beach. Such a tiny, secluded beach is truly a gem. For ages this park has been here and we never knew it! Stepping out into the coastal wind I pulled my coat closer to my body. We gathered our beach chairs and headed down into the sand. Even the sand here was different. While some beaches feel “powder-y”, this sand felt more grain-y. No rocks or sharp debris littered the beach. Just pristine, soft, warm, glowing sand. It was breath-taking. Walking across the sand I smiled to myself. This would be a fabulous picnic. I relaxed in my chair and watched my child dig into the sand. “Mama look!” she called and pointed proudly at her sand castle. I grinned at her and gave her a thumbs up. Sea gulls flew overhead and I smiled remembering all the times we fed bread to them.
Eventually the wind had kissed our cheeks and noses until they were bright red, and it was time to go home. “Awww” my daughter moaned and kicked her big toe into the sand. I hugged her and reminded her that we would definitely be coming back to that beach. As I scratch off my first item from my Live Now List I am amazed at the power, and joy that something so simple gave me. Today I went someplace new. I had a picnic with my family and savored the beauty of time. Life is truly beautiful. Have a wonderful day everyone! ❤