I am a born and bred water baby. No matter what may be happening in my world, Mother Ocean calms me. I've never lived more than 45 minutes from either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, and right now, my drive to the ocean is approximately eight minutes. As I mentioned back in this post, I've been going through a rather trying time on the job, and this past Thursday I nearly hit my breaking point. I left a meeting in which I felt totally deflated, devalued and demoralized and immediately went home. I hugged my babies, trying not to break down, changed into shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my camera and told Benny I'd be back in a little bit. He had already caught the tears in my eyes when I hugged the girls, so he knew what was up, no explanations needed. And I came here.
There's a little spot at the south end of Little Talbot Island, where Fort George Inlet meets the ocean. It's my spot. I park across the street at the Fort George River access and scoot past the fence along the breakwater and to this spot of beach. Unless you want to take a really long walk from the southernmost beach access at Little Talbot Island State Park, this spot is not accessible by any way other than how I reach it, illegally I'll admit, so I almost always have it to myself. By the time my toes hit the first little rush of tide, I can feel the bad parts of my day slipping away into the sand. And I just stand there ankle to knee deep in the water, letting the tide wash over my soul.
I spent about an hour out there Thursday afternoon, watching the birds and the waves and the ships coming out of the river, picking up shells here and there, and snapping pictures. I was about to head back to the house when a memory washed over me, and the tears I had been fighting since that meeting broke through. So I talked to my mom. She was out there, literally and figuratively. Like me, she was also a water baby, born and raised in Key West. About two and half years after her death, I woke up on Mother's Day, asked Benny to put the boat in the water, and we drove all the way out the mouth of the river into the ocean. And I scattered my mother's ashes. I hadn't planned to do that, but I just woke up that morning knowing that that was what I needed to do that day. I had cut some of my geranium blooms before we left and scattered them with her ashes. Their bright red and pink petals looked so pretty on that blue water.
So I talked to Mom about everything I was going through, even all the crap happening on top of the work struggles, and I know she was listening. My tears dried up and I felt a calm come over me. Moments later the clouds started clearing up and I looked up and saw this (below). And do you know the first thought that popped into my head? The Three Stooges. I knew my mother was out there. And I thanked her for the smile and made my way back across the sand and home again.