of sand and salt and sun and love

we camped at Hunting Island State Park this past weekend.  it was exactly the weather we wished for, seventies and mostly sunny, cool at night.  we arrived and got set up and then went for a late afternoon walk on the beach.  fresh fish for dinner, eaten by lantern and fire light.  and s'mores made with chocolate chip cookies.  brilliant.

morning came and I went for a solo walk on the beach.

back to the campsite where the day began with bacon, eggs, potatoes, coffee...

afterwards we headed to the end of the island to check out the nature center, pier, and trails.  we thought maybe we could go clamming, but the tide was up and it didn't work out.  so just some exploring, then.

and then to the lighthouse, where we climbed up, up, up...

and then back to the campsite for lunch.  I suppose it could be said that a hot dog is a hot dog is a hot dog, but I beg to differ.  we got these from the farmer-owned butcher shop in town (at home) where they do right and wow, these are tasty.

some mid-afternoon pumpkin carving was just the right thing for some rest and relaxation after the walking and climbing, and the hot sun.

we brought the seeds home to roast.  tomorrow, I'll get to it.

we girls went to the beach for a bit while papa headed back out for clamming, take two.

he found his way over to us afterwards and we all played and walked a bit.  and took what has become our version of a family portrait(s).

that right there is the best foot massage.  ever.  I could have walked back and forth over those delicious bumps for hours.  I did for about ten minutes.

Claire and I stopped by the playground on the way back from the beach while he headed on to get dinner started.  the playground was conveniently located two spaces down from our campsite.  there were shorter monkey bars there and I wish I could have brought them home with us.  she loved them so much.  felt so brave on them, so strong.  she said maybe we could make some.

back at the campsite, we found the camp sink full of clams.  tuned out papa's clamming venture was rather successful.  dinner was pretty damn great.

here's the part of the trip that I really wish I had pictures of.  the next morning I woke before the sun and walked out to the beach under a still slightly starry sky.  Orion was still hanging in there, with a few other stragglers.  I ran up and then down the beach to an area full of dead trees, mostly live oaks.  some in the water, some out.  the changing shoreline along the barrier island coast leaves these ghosts here and there.  and they are as beautiful in death, certainly, as in life.  especially when silhouetted against a horizon where the sun is just about to burst through in a glorious song of pinks and oranges.  wow.  I ended my run by the trees, stretched a bit, and watched the sun rise.  I'll go so far as to say it was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever experienced.  I made a million mental notes, took a few photos with my old phone and started back, collecting treasures along the way, singing out loud.

there was coffee in the dappled sunlight near the fire.  I sat on the ground and stretched.  we ate granola and began to pack up.  one last trip to the beach before saying goodbye for another year.

it was then that I finally went in for a swim.  it may sound crazy but as I packed I nearly left out the swim suit thinking it'd be way too cold.  oh but it was perfect.  perfect.  after checking out we actually headed back up to the lighthouse beach to get one more taste of it and, once we found a (relatively) bug-free area to land in (the beach is a bit more wild and wooded up there) we went for another swim and I lazed about on the beach for a bit as they played.

all packed up then, and headed home.  we picked up four pounds of shrimp and some fish at a local place before officially getting on the road and then we were off.  at a stop we made for dinner our fairly new and very awesome camp stove got stolen out of the trailer when we left the car parked and unattended for about twenty minutes.  not a great end to the trip, but ah well.  a lesson learned, I suppose.  it does not feel good having something stolen from you though, you know?  no fun.  that, and one of our chickens disappeared while we were gone.  it was Margaret, perhaps my favorite hen.  she and I have a long history of me nursing her back to health through various wounds and such.  she was getting old, for sure.  she laid the biggest brown eggs that wouldn't fit in any cartons.  but I did notice the two days before we left that she seemed a bit off, a bit listless.  I looked her over and saw no wounds or cause for alarm.  I worried a bit but what was I to do?  so I can't say I was shocked not to find her when I looked in this morning.  but it'd be nice to have a clue what happened.  no feathers about, no sign of anything fishy happening in terms of predation.  in my mind maybe she wandered off to die in a place of her choosing.  I'm quite sure that's not something we'd usually expect of a chicken, but that's what I'm going with for now.  goodbye Margaret, thanks for it all.

so as not to end this gloriously beachy post on too glum a note (because really it was such a beautiful weekend), there is this- the color awaiting us back here at home.  it's so beautiful sometimes I feel like it's too much to take in.  I suppose that's my sensitive nature, but wow, how can we even begin to appreciate all this beauty?

beach trip 2011, 2012, 2013.  just because.