Grains of Sand

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The yellow, three-story house stands out from the others, being the biggest, and the one with wrap-around porch littered with a dozen rocking chairs and other mismatched chairs. Walking up two sets of creaking wooden stairs, the warm breeze drifting through the open windows fills me with a sense of home, even when this home is 14 hours away. Slipping off my shoes, I can feel the grains of sand in between the wooden floor planks, stuck there from summers now and before. Shoes are not a requirement here, and will only be worn a few times throughout the too-short week. Everything has that soft lingering sent of salt, sand, and laundry detergent. The windows are fully open, and the sounds of water smacking the rocks and the distant laughter lure us from the house.

The walk from the sweltering pavement to the rough wood seems like an eternity as the sun beats down on our necks and backs. In one last step, the ground changes from the rough, worn out wood, to scorching grains of sand. Our feet sink into the heat and are swallowed up by the sandpapery ground. The graininess and burning sensation bring discomfort to some, but instead, flood me with a sense of familiarity. The heat and smothering humidity aren't enough to keep us away, and our steps grow quicker as we rush to meet the water. My lungs fill with air so salty that I can taste it, and my ears fill with thundering crashes and the sounds of crying birds. Standing at the very edge of the shoreline, I watch the water chase the sand and slowly curl up to meet the tips of my toes. The temptation of the cooling water is too much, and in a brief second I'm fully submerged in the cool salty water, and being carried farther out to the deeper and cooler water.
As the lightness starts to fade, we walk to the end, where hot grains turn to cool pebbles. The breeze becomes slightly chilled, and sweatshirts are pulled out. The sky starts to turn from a cloudless, pale blue, to a multicolored wonder. Streaked with orange, yellow, red, and purple, color overwhelms the sky and reflects into the water, causing it to sparkle and dance with color. Although facing east, we watch as the sun falls below the water, we're the only ones on this side of the country that can see it. The colors soon fade, and the sky changes again to a deep, velvety shade of blue-black, being lit by thousands of stars. Looking up, the sky pulls away, and makes everything in the moment seems so tiny.
The still heat, the sound of water and land colliding, and comforting feeling of a home away from home begin to bring sleep. The feelings are engrained in our memories like grains of sand in the wood floor. They stay with us, clinging to everything, like the sand in our suitcases.





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