Just breathe, I tell myself, and it works.
When everyone is settled - bolster anyone? blanket? eye pillow? Linda, our instructor, begins....
My impatience evaporated and I was there, on the beach, any beach, breathing the salty air, feet sinking into the sand as the waves licked my toes.
We couldn't just gallop off down to the beach though. Mum and Dad had only two hands each, Mum reminded us. There were blankets to carry, towels, buckets and spades and the all-important picnic basket. Our patience was sorely tested while she rejected the first eight depressions in the dunes before, finally, declaring the ninth one perfect. We wriggled out of our clothes and into our swim togs holding a towel around us lest we scandalize the seagulls.
Then flew to the water,
like birds uncaged.
But Dad's tea took care of that. We'd sit huddled in our blankets and the shelter of the dunes, nursing our goosebumps, eating our sandwiches and slurping that comforting, hot, sweet tea. And in no time at all we'd go racing to the water again.
When the sun started to sink we'd pile once more into the Morris Minor.
And start singing, every popular song we could think of. We belted out Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, along with anything by Elvis Presley or Cliff Richard, and old favorites like My Grandfather's Clock, The Hole in the Bucket, Que Sera Sera, Row, Row, Row your Boat, How Much is that Doggie in the Window?
We never lasted all the way home. I'm sure our parents sighed with relief when the singing died down and the only sound from the back seat was gentle snoring from happy, salty, sand-encrusted children.
We didn't leap over rocks or race to the water. No, we've become more sedate with the years, but we did swim every day, and walked on the beach and sat reading in the shade.
Every evening, marvelous food. We usually go to the beaches on the Gulf which is warm as bathwater, shallow and calm. The best part of this trip was the Atlantic, not so shallow, not so calm.
A muffled sound, as from the far side of a cloud, a voice, Linda's, floats into my daydream -
"See the shining color of the water, how the light sparkles on it,"
and the Little Blister's smiling face comes into focus in my dream.
|The Little Blister and me a few years ago at Bishop's Quarter|
Is she walking along the beach at Bishop's Quarter I wonder, even as I'm lying here on my mat thinking of her? And suddenly my eyes are leaking down into my ears and I give silent thanks for the eye pillow. Why am I weeping when I have so much to be grateful for? Trouble is, the world, for all its recent shrinkage, is still too big and people I love too far away. Birthdays with zeros get you thinking that way. Recent events in Tallhassee too. What I said back there about dying from exertion? A joke.
No one goes to yoga class expecting to die there.
No one lies down in savasana (corpse pose) expecting it to be permanent.
If those who died in Tallahassee love beaches, I hope heaven is the most beautiful beach ever.
Linda often ends her classes with this quote -
May you be well,
May you be happy and peaceful,
May you be free from all suffering,
May you be filled with loving kindness.
And while you live, may you be lucky enough to spend part of each year on the beach.