Monday, September 23, 2013

A Week on the Beach

As has been the tradition for the past several years, my sister gave the whole family the gift of a beach house for all of last week. This time, we went to Scotland, MD on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay instead of the Outer Banks of North Carolina as in 2010 and 2011.

Here, the beach was smaller but it was also much less populated. 

The house was right on the beach, so at any hour you could just go out there and sunbathe, 

relax and read, 

walk with the dogs, swim, do some birdwatching, or kayak. 

Between the houses were old deteriorated piers that the birds used for perching, watching out for their next meal, and nesting. 

The big nest just outside our house was an osprey nest, but the only critters I saw using it now were seagulls. 

It was so fun to kayak right up under it and see what it was made of--mostly branches, with a fish skeleton and some bits of rope and feathers thrown in. 

So resourceful!

The weather was incredible, so we spent lots of time outside. 

Genghis and Lamar were with us, and though Lamar is nervous around Genghis, I think he managed to enjoy at least some of his time on the beach.

Lamar, more than Fozzie or my old cattle dog girl Tashi, is a dog who likes his comforts and will generally take a nice soft bed and some pillows over any sort of outdoor relaxation situation. 

Nonetheless, he adjusted quite well to the outdoor relaxation opportunities on offer. The important thing to Lamar is to be near his tribe, wherever he is.

Lamar, I can relate to that.

There was something so wonderful about having the option to walk alone with Lamar on the beach, or space out with my brother and his girlfriend or my dad, or go kayaking with Florian or my sister, or discuss the tides and astronomy with Uncle Johnny. 

Of course we all missed my mom. Last time we were all on the beach together, I remember how much I loved watching the big spider and amazing sunsets on the porch with her, and having Science Hour with Mom and Johnny.

This was also my first birthday without Mom, my 40th no less. 

We carried on though. Though every last one of them is a certifiable wacko, my family members are all good people who love animals and nature and support each other. I loved falling asleep in a house where they were all just a few doors away.

I loved watching the stars with Johnny and learning a new constellation, Cygnus the Swan. Our necks got sore but we spent hours on the deck with the nice binoculars Johnny inspired me to buy, finding Cassiopeia and Cygnus and the Milky Way even though the moon was almost full, so the sky was too bright for maximum visibility.

What an ideal vacation, to be immersed with nature while surrounded by family. I am reminded again of how it was to be twentysomething, camping out alone with my sleeping pad on the side of a road running next to an oil field in West Texas, or camped in the sandy alcove up Left Hand Canyon of Mill Creek outside Moab, Utah, or falling asleep with my dreadlocked boyfriend on the top level of a Westphalia camper van in Vancouver after a day of busking, our bandmate and his teen girlfriend crashed out below.

Though I relished being that free spirit, and part of me still longs to roam from one beautiful place to the next, subsisting on almond butter and dried fruit and putting down roots that can be lifted in the time it takes to withdraw a tent stake from red Southern Utah sand, I know now what makes me even happier. 

Having attained the big 4-0, with a mortgage and  a couple of dogs and a pair of budgies and a steady job or two, along with a Swiss guy and the engagement ring he gave me for my birthday, I have to say that I know now what was missing even as I lay gazing up at the Milky Way with my 20/20 vision from a perfect slickrock camp site at the edge of the Grand Canyon twenty years ago. 

And I think Lamar knows too. 


  1. Happy Birthday, Kirsten! What a beautiful place!

  2. Thanks for sharing above information! Get the Best Online Pet Classified Ads with Your Online Pets Ads is just a click away! Online Pet Classifieds, Free Pet Classifieds, Puppy Training, Pet Accessories, Dog Buy and sale with

  3. Hi Kirsten, we noted that you mentioned Vancouver. Well girly, first thing is we're very pleased that "the Swiss" guy gave you a beautiful engagement ring. I mean, how cool is that? If your longing ever brings you back up this way, let us know. It's beautiful up this way as you know. There's already a couple of inches of snow on top of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Being a part of a family and having roots is important.

  4. Happy belated birthday and congratulations!! What a lovely post Kirsten. I love the beach too, there is just something so therapeutic about walking the shore.

    So where was Fozzie? You mentioned Lamar, but not Fozzie.

    1. Fozzie stayed home with our buddy Francine! He and Genghis don't get along, and he is just too much of a wild man sometimes for a family vacation :)

  5. Oh man! We live at the beach and are still jealous of your place. It looks fantastic
    Benny & Lily

  6. Happy Belated birthday and what an incredibly beautiful area to vacation! Just steps away from the beach! How lucky!
    Barks and licks and love,

  7. So beautiful! Happy birthday and congratulations on your engagement!

  8. Our house is also near a beach but this place looks way too better than ours. I love your pet, I think that’s what is missing in my life. I too should get a dog asap. Congratulations for your engagement. Great share. Northern Virginia Dog Trainers


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.