August 06, 2012

The benefits of jet lag

When I travel to the west coast, my body stays on east coast time. The first morning of our trip, I was wide-awake by 4:30 am.

It’s the best time of day. I pulled on a fleece, grabbed my camera, and slipped out to walk the beach. The cool, thick fog felt wonderful after the hot summer we’ve had at home.

That became my routine for our vacation. I’d start each day by walking on the beach for a couple of hours. We were traveling down the coast, so it was a different beach every couple of days, with new places to explore – sand dunes, rocky cliffs, tide pools, piers. Usually I’d walk for at least an hour before seeing even one other person. That includes my husband, who for some reason does not get jet lag, and was usually just waking up when I would return to the room with my feet sandy and cold from wading in the surf.

One morning, I saw a man coming down the beach. I could tell he was old: he moved with difficulty, using two sticks to keep himself in balance. I was feeling sorry for him — I could see that the sand made it hard for him to walk — until I got close enough to see his face.

He looked elated. He lumbered a few steps closer to me, leaned heavily on the left stick, and waved his free hand toward the waves that were pounding down on the wet sand. “Isn’t this great? I haven’t been to the ocean in years.”

I grinned back. “Yep. There’s nothing else like it.” We stood together and looked out through the fog. Shorebirds were running along the wet sand. The Pacific smells different than the Atlantic to me — not as salty somehow – but the rhythm of the surf is much the same. We had the whole long beach to ourselves, and even the houses had disappeared behind the fog.

“It’s a great morning,” he said. We smiled at each other in agreement. He shifted his weight again, got himself moving, and kept on going down the beach, leaving footsteps blurred by the walking sticks and the wind that came in from the sea.

Old man and the sea


Heidi said...

Ah, lovely. We could use some of that cool fog here.

Rana said...

I love a misty coastline. It's been a long time since I've walked one.

BrightenedBoy said...

I've been pondering the benefits of jetlag myself lately! With a business trip to the West Coast coming up I'm going to appreciate being able to effortlessly wake up early.

Heather said...

Im surprised you didnt ask him to do a nude photo posing..:))


have loved catching up with your blogs again (I was a slow Lucky Bean)