Out of Time

by Shea Bell

Another lazy Sunday at the bay was as entertaining as it was restful.

Between chapters I enjoyed a nearby group of teenagers strumming guitars, tapping on bongos and furtively sipping beers.

Here and there scantily clad lovers laid themselves out on the fine sand, thighs touching, lips hungering for connection.

Others strolled the shoreline, heads together in deep discussion. The breeze carried their voices to me as they passed. From under my wide-brimmed sun hat I had the privilege of joining them unobserved, knowing the healing rays and salty air might bring them solutions, as it had for me on occasion.

Paddle boarders and kayakers swept silently by, offering each other congenial one-handed salutes.
Swimmers played and splashed and laughed, and dogs ran free in the tide pools, catching balls and driftwood and chasing seagulls.

Even with all this going on the beach seemed to extend privacy to each of us.

On this perfect summer day, I knew the warm, calm waters would gift me at least two long floats with plenty of time in between for the salt to crisp up on my skin. It was a divine experience I hungrily anticipated at the start of each year. From time to time the sun tempted me away from my reverie and insisted I take a nap. In fact sometimes my eyes involuntarily slammed shut with no power or will to resist. Unchained, I vowed to make the most of each blessed moment as it came before stepping out the next day into my busy life.

The sun began to drop and a rumbling in my tummy prompted me to check my watch. My goodness! It was seven o’clock and I had been at the beach since noon. There was one more glorious hour of rest to capture before sunset and I planned to stay as long as I could.

Three logs down I noticed a group of families begin the wind-up. Two of the moms headed down to a nearby sandbar to collect a passel of preschool-aged kids who had been digging holes for quite some time. The dads put away beach toys, took down the umbrellas and corralled the babies and toddlers, who by now were howling and beyond ready for bed.

I watched as the third mom headed out to a different sandbar to gather up her son. He appeared to be the eldest in the group, and was playing thoughtfully on his own.

“Tommy, it’s time to go.” He continued to shovel sand into his bucket. He was constructing a fortress, which unbeknownst to him was about to be consumed by the incoming tide.

“Tommy, I mean it, it’s time to go!” Her tone caught his attention this time. He glanced briefly up at his mom then got right back to his project without budging or saying a word.

She repeated, “Tommy, we have to go home now. There’s a lot to do before bed and we are out of time.” By now she was exasperated and ready to grab him.

Tommy looked up at his mom one more time and stated calmly,
“Mom, I’m not out of time.”

I smiled. He was as bewitched by the sea-shore as I. We had actually stepped out of time and it was going to be hard for both of us to return to real life.

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Annabel September 14, 2018 - 10:38 am

Out of the mouth of babes. What a great comeback. How I wish I were there today doing exactly that same! Week, there’s always next summer!

Shea Bell September 14, 2018 - 11:20 am

Baby, I hear ya! You have been a stalwart buddy. 🙂

Annabel September 14, 2018 - 10:39 am

Ack! Autocorrect got hold of my comment!

Shea Bell September 14, 2018 - 11:21 am

Ha ha. Glad you explained that one.


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