And a Laughing River Tumbles By


What beautiful memories I am collecting during these days by the sea.  The sun comes up in a “blaze of glory”  to start the day.  There are no old trees to cast shade, and so the light gilds everything in gold.  The sand sparkles, and the water glistens as much as any opal ever dared to.  That is what the morning looks like.

By noon, the sun is the color of butter and the ocean along the shore is a pale jade that steadily increases in depth, til it is aqua, then turquoise and at last a cobalt blue where it meets the horizon.  

Lyla is not fooled by the call of the happy ocean to come and play.  She gazes as I do, and is every bit as charmed, but keeps a safe distance, from the churning, beckoning water.  Lyla digs in the sand and draws pictures with her little fingers.  She lays sea shells out in patterns and is constantly filling her buckets with sand, only to dump them in a few moments, and start again.  She is working – and takes it very seriously.  No matter how “toys” have changed, childhood remains the same.  Children love to play in dirt, no matter the variety of it.  It is a reassuring fact for me. 

I feel the same way about the sand, as I do the delicate shells.  Maybe it takes a thousand colors to make a handful of sand and no scoop is the same as another.  The shore changes with the crest of every wave, and every gust of the constant sea breeze.  In this way, the sea is always a modern landscape, yet remains ancient, as well.  


On Tuesday, the sisters came – Miss Claudias’ sisters, Julia and Mary Ruth.  Mary Ruths’ daughter, Missy came too.  I always enjoy gatherings with the sisters as they are a lively and friendly lot.  It does my heart a world of good to see a loving family, in action.  They tell stories of remembered times and what a treasury they have collected.  We have been hearing about the breakdown of the “American family” for a long while and sadly, it has some truth. . .but in the case of these sisters, they are doing their part to rid the world of such “speculation”.  I think what this will mean for Lyla.  I hope Lyla will hear their stories and will one day,  know them by heart, for they are her stories too, really.  I think it is a wonderful realization, to know all the love that brought us to life.   


Brant and Sydney came on Thursday.  Brant is my oldest child.  How good it was to see the ocean with him too.  Brant has been working on the rabbit patch  and made all sorts of progress.  He had barely got his things unpacked, when he started on a few projects here, at the cottage.  This is his way.  Brant loves to help others in whatever way he can. Wherever he lives, the senior neighbors find out he will carry their groceries in or move heavy furniture.  I do not take this lightly.  Very few people truly devote their life to giving to others, and do not need praise nor recognition .  Very few people tackle humble tasks with such zeal, for the sheer satisfaction of serving others.  It is a form of nobility and nothing less.  


Though the cottage hosted a full house -(there were eight of us in all), it never felt crowded to me.  Lyla followed her cousin Mia, around like a mid day shadow.  Miss Claudia nearly glowed, at having  both of her children, Will and Mary, under the same roof.  At times, we were all together, and at times we were quite separate.  It was a nice balance and the time flew by as it always does, when you are having fun.


Friday came quickly to me . . .and with it, a “schedule”.  Brant and Sydney left early, for they both had to go back to work.  I immediately missed them and started feeling that something beautiful was ending.  After breakfast, everyone gathered their things.  The coffee canister was empty and I had all but finished reading my book.  Both events  seemed fitting, given it was our last morning there. The refrigerator was cleaned out,  cars were loaded and good byes were said .  

Soon we were back in the world, where yards were green and had  old  shade trees.  . . . and a laughing river tumbled by.   Zinnias brightened the  sidewalks  and ever so often  there was a roadside stand, selling things like cucumbers and watermelons.  Rain clouds had gathered overhead as Jenny had said they would.  The air no longer smelled of salt but held the familiar, sweet, green smell of inland summer. .. and I supposed, somewhere, someone was frying pork chops.    




26 thoughts on “And a Laughing River Tumbles By

  1. I wish you could have had a longer holiday so you could write more. The week passed too soon for my liking. Glad Lyla has a great family to look up to and listen stories from.
    The sea still remains as it has for centuries though you all left but you have the golden memories from a glorious time etched in the sands of your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, this was one of your best stories, Michele. Especially Lyla and the sand by the ocean. Yes, children haven’t changed at all. Much like the rabbit patch and Mother Nature.

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  3. Well…I certainly enjoyed my visit thanks to your wonderful story telling. Don’t you feel like it has been a short summer? My grands will be back in school in three weeks time and I’m not ready ..except for cooler temps. Of coures the cooler temps will be farther out there I’m afraid. I’m sure Cash and Christopher robin will be glad to have you back at the Rabbit Patch. xoxo to all of you.

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  4. One of your most beautiful accounts,I wish you had more time to enjoy all that but it sounds you still had a wonderful time and sweet Layla…..and so did we because you really transported us by the sea with your words .Thank you❤️

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