This was one of the most unproductive mornings I’ve had in some time. I wrote and deleted two blog posts because they were crap. Work slid sideways and never got back on the runway. Out of sorts with just about everything this morning. These things happen, and I tried working through it for awhile… with limited success. So I decided to take a walk at lunch, and decided it had been too long since I’ve walked the beach on Plum Island. Walking on the beach is great any time of year, but my favorite time is winter. I saw three people and two dogs the entire walk, benefiting greatly in my isolation for walking in the middle of a work day in winter. But that’s why I went there.
The surf was up, offering a wonderful soundtrack to compliment the rhythmic swish, swish of my feet marching across damp, cold sand. The beach is a traveling art show, with sand sculptures carved by the wind and waves moving from place to place, always different from the last exhibit. Snow from last night clumped in patches here and there with greatest success on driftwood and the dune grass. Tiny sand ridges formed from receding waves created Etch A Sketch-like graffiti on the beach; here in this moment, but gone with the wind and high tide. Driftwood and sea glass and millions of shells mixed into the sand, clumped into patterns by the previous high tide. I continued my march with purpose, aiming for the Mouth of the Merrimack River. This was about a 2 1/2 mile round trip, which fit in with the amount of time I had while serving as a good workout with the give of the sand.
I came across a child’s footprints in the sand running in circles, as children do, going this way and that; directionless. And I thought to myself, that’s what brought me to the beach today too. I’d begun the day with high hopes, got distracted by figuring out the logistics of getting from here to the tropics with no real time to work with, and found myself spiraling into a completely unproductive morning. So the beach was a reset, a chance to clear my head and figure things out. Ten year plans that break into what am I doing next week kind of thinking. And some of that got done, but mostly I checked another 10K box and regained my focus on writing. And when I got back to my work settled back into a groove with that too. Good things happen when you get outside. And when outside is a quiet beach all the better.