Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Savoring and Growing--An Evening at the Beach

Walking on the beach, or simply gazing out over the ocean profoundly restores my soul. Monday was a fairly hot, clear day here in North Florida--good beach weather many people would say. I don't much like sweltering in the sun, however, so usually either go to the beach in the cooler seasons, spend most of my time in the ocean when the temperature climbs above 80 degrees, or go in the hours toward sunset. 
Our sweet little shih-tzu, Magnolia (usually called Maggie), also just loves the beach--to the point that we have to spell the word when we talk about going because she gets so excited about the possibility. She starts a joyful dance and spin-around routine at the sight or smell of my battered red and white striped beach bag. However, I don't like to take her in the heat and relentless sunshine of mid-day any more than I like it for myself. Early evening is a perfect time for her to race around in the sand, as in today's photo. 
Yesterday, the three of us set out for the beach (about a 15 minute drive from home) at about 7 p.m. and were home again by 8:45. There was a lovely breeze off the water--by 8:30 it was almost chilly. Several ships and a shrimp boat were visible far out on the horizon. Other than that, it was a rather ordinary evening: a pleasant sunset but too few clouds for spectacular color, no dolphin sightings, only the rather sad sight of an old sea turtle, which had apparently died near shore, now revealed by the receding tide. 
Yet the sound of the surf, the happy shrieks of children, the young couple with a tiny, very new baby proudly posing with her for pictures against the ocean backdrop, and the fresh smell of the sea breeze all were magical to me. We returned home feeling as refreshed as if we had been on vacation. I am thankful for the restoring natural beauty around us and hope that you have special places for renewal as well--and that you take the time to enjoy those places, even if just for an hour or two. It's not expensive or time-consuming to love life and live it fully, but it does require creative awareness and the willingness to do the things that bring us peace and joy.
Question of the day: What place or activity restores your inner peace? 


  1. My husband and I love to walk. Mostly it's in the evenings around our neighborhood but when we get the chance we go to Balboa Island and walk around both islands. It's a little over a mile and we love seeing the pretty homes and there are always lots of island cats lounging and island dogs walking with their people. We always feel rejuvenated after that-maybe the sea air??

    Glad you found me! Isn't Kim Van Der Hoek the best?

  2. I'm glad I found you, too--enjoyed your blog about the creativity in your life.

    Your Balboa Island walks sound lovely--I have done the same on visits to Southern California. You've given us a prime example of the truth that you don't need to live in a dense forest or on an island to have a "peace of mind" place available. Thank you for that.

  3. Hey, I'm glad to see you found Bear Chick! She is a sweet and talented person.

    Your photo at the beach looks so relaxing. The perfect place to set up my easel and paint. Which by now I'm sure you've guessed, is how I like to restore my inner peace.

  4. You have wonderful followers and commenters on your blog, Kim. I discover new artists and other lovely, creative people whenever I visit.

    We three are fortunate to have an ocean nearby, but I would love to hear from readers who live away from the coasts regarding their restorative places.

  5. Hi Mary, Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. My favorite place to relax and restore inner peace are the Smoky Mts., N Carolina side. We have a small home there and when the hot and humid Florida summers get me down we pack our bags for a couple weeks in the mountains. There is nothing like a change of scenery.

  6. How lovely that you have a place in the beautiful Smoky Mountains! We love living in Coastal North Florida, but sometimes it is just verrrry flat. And, as you say, sometimes it is too hot and humid.

    Thanks for sharing your restorative place, Carol.