When I was younger, I thought that by the time I arrived at the age I am now I would have it all figured out. I’d know exactly who I was. I wouldn’t stand in the toothpaste aisle and wonder what the hell toothpaste to buy. I’d not look in the mirror or at my body and question what time has taken from (or added to) me. I’d know what to eat, not fuss about where to go, what to do–I’d make decisions easily, in other words.
But it’s not like that. I still get completely stymied by the simplest things, I still don’t know exactly who I am. But mostly I have a better idea. And the surprise is that it’s kind of freeing to accept that, yeah, even at this age, I’m still developing. I’m glad I’m not fully formed–it means I still have things to discover and learn and try.
One thing I do know with all my heart and soul and very fiber of my being is that I need to be near Lake Michigan. Growing up with my summers there embedded that lake into my makeup, the sand into my skin, the dunes and grasses and colors and wind into my essence. I’m sure I’d survive if I left it, but I don’t want to. I want to get old on Lake Michigan’s shoreline. I want to die with sand in my hair and between my toes.
I was in St. Joseph for just a night and day this weekend and at least got to stick my hands into Lake Michigan’s water. I considered taking my shoes off and walking in, but opted for easy and dove both hands in, dragged my fingers through the sand and tried not to let my camera bag or my coat get wet. It was sunny and beautiful and windy and plenty of people were out on the beach and the pier.
I was barefoot on the shores not long ago, in both October and November, a lucky warm fall.
But it always feels like a homecoming, feeling that water–no matter the temperature or unseasonable time of year. It’ll hold me until the spring when I can walk the beach at the cottage further north of St. Joseph.