winter beach wandering……

Gooseberry island

Frozen sea spray

Frozen sea

Sand & boy

Sea kelp

Winter beach walk


I've lived near the ocean since I was twelve. Well, aside from that quick two year tour in the midwest… but even then we lived on Lake Superior…. which will fool you a bit as trying to be an ocean. I know the smell and sound of her by heart. And while sitting at the beach in the sun is lovely, my true love is walking along the shore. Even better, standing at her edge before a storm. Watching the waves pick up… hearing the wind whip around… the sound of the water crashing onto the rocks and then the sudden sucking noise as it quickly returns to the sea. It's powerful. And since becoming a mother, it always reminds me a bit of birth.

We drove to our favorite beach this week after a good snowstorm. I made the kids wear their new long underwear and packed us all snacks for the way home. We had to park outside the gate and walk in. The cold wind almost surprising after a car ride in a toasty warm car. We huff and puff down the trail and then slip off the side to get a break from the wind. As soon as their boots touch the sand the kids are off. Their usual squabble is replaced by a combination of vast space between them or the two of them shoulder to shoulder looking at creatures in tide pools. Ebb and flow….

They must be so cold, Sophie says. Quickly putting a hermit crab back into the water.

Dad, tell me again why the ocean doesn't freeze, Luke asks. 

We walk and walk. Our bodies warm. The gloves come off and jackets get unzipped. The salty air fills my lungs and kisses my skin.

The kids wander ahead of Joe & I, and we begin to talk. About our plans. The farm. How to get from here to there. How long will it take to save enough money to begin building. Can't we really just build a tiny house and rough it? Would the kids hate us forever? Will there be for four or six of us  by then, how can our big kids be turning 18 & 20 this fall? Is he sure he is opposed to goats? (I'm slowly winning him over on the last one.) I'm a planner, a dreamer. I need details and goals to motivate me. Joe is pragmatic, steady. I'm thinking of what dairy goats would suit us best and he's thinking about fixing up his parent's old tractor so he can keep the front part of our property cleared until we build. I like to think we make a good pair though.

Will you miss this? I ask him. Will you miss being able to hop in the car and drive thirty minutes to one of the most beautiful beaches in New England?

He is slow to answer. I think about all the years he has spent on a ship at sea. His entire career interwoven with boats and salty air. My sailor boy. And then I think about all the reasons we chose the woods over the ocean. It wasn't an easy decision, but it feels right. It feels like us. Still, I wonder, will I miss it more than I think?

I look forward to visiting, he answers. 

And then Luke yells to us, something about icicles at the beach being salty. I am eating the ocean! He shouts. I have a taste. Cold. Salty. Me too, I tell him. 





12 thoughts on “winter beach wandering……

  1. I love that I can picture all of that….the entire day and conversations. I love that I know you guys and you are in our lives…even from afar.


  2. You know, I am a little jealous of your big move to the back of nowhere…but I miss being close to the ocean more than I would have imagined & it’s one of the reasons we are moving back…so I totally get it. xo


  3. She will miss you too, and she’ll keep a place for you, next to her, with open arms, for quick overnights, long weekends, any time time the farm can spare. Because, after all, she knows she is needed, loved, and reminded of all those who value her. She returns it, because, as great as she is, needs and loves all those who value her.


  4. I’m sure you recognized this as the beach we took you to last summer. It really is a magical place – one of the few places I will truly miss. But Joe is right, we can always visit. (I’m glad we are still connected too!)


  5. If we won the lottery we could have both 🙂 But honestly, after years of living all by ourselves….. we really, truly miss having family nearby. Our farm is just 30 minutes from all of Joe’s family – so I guess they won out over the ocean.


  6. I loved reading this little post. We are in the same process in a way. We have talked of back woods and tiny homes for years….always in the back of our minds. We have 3 1/2 acres now with animals…goats are AMAZING btw…I can vouch for them….Nigerian Dwarfs are so lovely. Even with all we can do here…bees, goats, chickens, rabbits, pets and gardening and canning its still not enough. My dream is that tiny home out in the woods. *sigh* Love that your on your way. Our children (four of them) are on the cusp of adulthood (17, 17, 18 and 21) and my husband retires from teaching in 6 years. So we have a 6 year plan for that tiny home on some land surrounded by trees. *fingers crossed* will love watching your journey!


  7. It’s so nice to connect with others that are dreaming of this sort of transition at the end of raising kids. I dreamed for years of farm life with the kids – but it just didn’t pan out that way. Instead it seems it will fall together near the end of the intensive phase of parenting – with just a couple of teenagers – it’s so wild, this time flying by thing. And before I know it – grandchildren will be the next thing on my life event list (I can’t believe I just typed those words!)
    I love that you gave the goats another vote – I’m really especially fond of Nigerian Dwarf goats too!


  8. i love the way you captured your conversation and thoughts together so seamlessly in this post. big decisions are always a bit hard, but it sounds like you have properly turned over every corner in making the right one. so excited for you.


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