Maybe it is my father’s fault. He introduced me to the Pacific Ocean, to fishing and clamming on the Washington Coast, to drifting for long hours down the Hoh River. Every weekend and summer holiday was spent finding fish and finding new adventures.
Our years growing up were always punctuated with trips to the peninsula or trips to various wonders of natural and historic importance. Our itinerary set in accordance to my father’s teaching calendar-long weekends and summers off. When I too became a teacher, I realized I had this need in me, almost like a biological teacher’s clock. At certain times of the year, I would get this itch to get up and go. I was no longer chasing fish with my father, but a summer spent entirely at home felt like a death sentence.
So it was my father’s fault that one summer I ended up on Cape Cod. His will to explore on his time off was genetically handed down to me. I had a summer off from teaching, I went on an adventure. That summer filled my shoes with Cape Cod sand. That summer filled my life with companionship; I met my husband. That summer permanently rooted me to a life that constantly shifted with the tides, and yet gave me a love for a place I couldn’t let go of. This summer we finally returned back to Cape Cod after being away for six years. We had every intention of selling the house and saying goodbye to this place. It would be easy. Call the realtor, sell it, get out from under the weight of an old house that so desperately needed love and repairs. But it wasn’t that easy. Once our feet hit the sand, once the salt stuck to our skin, once the sun set over the sand bar, we were again overwhelmed by our love for this place. We cannot leave her permanently. As we shift with the tides of our lives, we still cling to the shores of the Cape and won’t let her go.
Only time will tell how much our daughter will love this place too. At eight, she is beginning to show signs of wanderlust; at differing times of the year she gets that need too, to go on an adventure. We will leave the sand behind tomorrow for another school year. For as the old saying goes, “May You Always Have A Shell In Your Pocket and Sand in Your Shoes.”