Monday, June 20, 2011

Choosing the Shore

Given a choice on where to travel (or where to set my novels) I will always pick the shore. I’m not particular about which shore, but Maine’s close by, and so I get there at least once every summer. I love the way firs grow right out of the rock, down close to the water’s edge; the way seaweed drifts listlessly in the cold, green water; and how fog slides in and, even though it has no real substance, can alter an entire landscape. 

Cape Cod was another favorite summer destination of mine. Every August, when I was a child, we rented a tiny cabin, one of a dozen clustered around a small marina on the banks of a saltwater river that ran into Waquoit Bay. The cabin was rustic and had an outdoor shower, not because they were trendy (I don’t think we had trends back then, certainly nothing we considered trendy) but because there wasn’t room for one inside. I loved it. We spent all day in-and-out of the water, riding our bikes, catching minnows and crabs, and messing about in boats. There was no television, so we played cards in the evening, or went to the drive-in. I long for simple summer days on the Cape. We don’t get there very often now, because the traffic is bad and the beaches crowded. Perhaps it’s not Cape Cod that I long for, but the simple, summer days of my childhood. 

Every winter my husband and I now flee the Vermont cold for Sanibel Island, located off the coast of Southwest Florida. What I love about this little gem, besides the climate, is that two-thirds of the island is conserved for wildlife. The speed limit on most of the roads is 25mph, and drivers are required by law to stop for gopher tortoises. This just seems right to me. I haven’t heard anyone else complain, either. When I can rouse myself early, I go out on the beach and watch the sunrise. Sometimes the moon is still up, and that is quite a sight. Not many folks are up at that hour, and the few who are recognize that it’s not a time to socialize. We stand and stare in awe at the wonder of nature. Eleven hours later, up and down the beach, noisy groups gather to toast the sun as it drops back into the Gulf and to congratulate ourselves for having been lucky enough to spend another day in paradise. 

Writing is often a solitary undertaking, as is reading, but stories are meant to be shared so, please, leave a comment below. Where do you like to travel and why? (And, if you read my new novel, Her Sister’s Shadow, please get in touch and let me know what you think. Thanks!)

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