It snowed at the beach on Friday, just in time for my annual weekend with the writers.
We stayed at a hotel on the Virginia Beach oceanfront, where we laughed and ate and sat around in our pajamas as we read to each other and critiqued chapters from works-in-progress.
All the while, it was so cold outside that Friday’s snow couldn’t melt.
Saturday afternoon I spent some time on our icy balcony, trying to photograph cormorants, seagulls, and dolphins.
Clouds raveled and gathered again, the sun came and went, and the ocean flickered from gray to green to blue.
All day Saturday the surface looked silky and smooth, but Sunday morning’s high tide rumpled it into restless wrinkles.
After I got home, I felt restless, too. Uncertain of how to proceed from here. The weekend was so perfect, and the house was so warm, and I was indescribably happy.
How could I ever want more than what I have right now? More than these comforts and luxuries I am so grateful to have known?
Yesterday, I flew home through the southern-most remnants of Hurricane Sandy. The flight was a bit bumpy, though not as rough as I had anticipated. I went to bed early and slept late this morning, then meant to spend much of my day in the yard, which is cluttered with knotweed and wind-torn leaves. But as I knelt in a patch of damp grass, acutely aware of the contrast between the yard’s October-cold ground and a breezy sky full of summer-warm sunshine, I changed plans.
The ocean was restless, tossing sets of foaming waves onto a beach swept flat and clean. I watched as a ship pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay, and I hoped that it was headed north, carrying help to areas devastated by Sandy.
Trying to distract myself from overwhelming images of flooding and destruction, I spent the next half-hour photographing pelicans.
Eventually, my phone chimed an appointment reminder, which I barely heard over the ocean’s tumble and growl.
My route to the appointment carried me past First Landing State Park, so I stopped for a quick glance at the Chesapeake Bay.
(That’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, in the background.)
I only stayed about fifteen minutes, and in that short time clouds swallowed the sun. I assumed these clouds were related to the storm, or to the cold front that fed its monstrous transformation into a super-storm. Either way, I returned to my car with a heavy heart, helplessly small and weak under such a beautiful, terrible sky.