Monday, July 30, 2018

Gastrointeritis in France

...or something equally unpleasant, has invaded our days and nights, only one child, for now, for two days, but there is not much else occupying my half-awake brain this morning. Prayers and thoughts are most welcome. The weekend started out well enough; a delicious, cloudy day turned sunny at the beach, with us and almost nobody else around. 

It was actually raining when we left, but, you know how the coast is; (no worries, I don't either, living in the middle of Iowa, as I normally do), nevertheless, the weather can be completely different 10 miles away, so we drove on. We had, after all, shopped, and packed and made a picnic, and one of us was bound and determined to go THAT DAY, it was not me, but naming names is not kind. I guess it's a good thing we did, the ways things turned out. The weather was, in fact, a little different when we arrived, it was even cooler than it had been at home and it was still raining. It was actually freezing, hoodies were dug out and donned. Undaunted, we trudged up the dune with a light(ish) step and were rewarded with the view of a magnificent ocean; all grey and wild, crashing and throwing up so much spray and mist that the coastline faded in the near distance. I love the ocean like this, but putting on a swimsuit and going into it was not in my plans just then. A cup of hot tea under the beach cabana...yes, please! Half of us had a warm drink, the other half (or maybe only third) went swimming. 

The weather shortly cleared up and we joined them on the beach, installing parasols, coolers, towels, bags, books, etc. (Yes, my knitting was in the et cetera, though I barely touched it that day; the sea was so gorgeous.) It was mesmerizing, it wanted to be gazed upon and walked along and to creep along the sand to my toes. The girls read; we were with my sister-in-law and her little family, as well as our friends from Toulouse, G and S. Even the men did not last long in the water, but they stayed by the shoreline and supervised the non-bathing children. S. devoted her afternoon to helping Gael and Remy (small cousin) build a sand model of Carcassonne on the beach; magnificent! 

I took a long, long stroll along the almost-empty beach, toes in the water when the rising tide was not forming quick-sand puddles two feet deep. It was still cloudy and the world looked like it was covered in a distant brume, rising from the waves. I could see for miles and miles up the coastline, yet the details were poetically blurred. The ocean rolled and roared and crept in further and further. I wandered on. Later we would roll ourselves; with laughter, as the newly-arrived-with-the-sun tourists were soaked, towels, picnics and all, by the fresh waves of the rising tide, whole groups of them, and not just once. Rotten locals. 

Like that, but with much bigger waves and clouds in the sky and all grey and mysterious...needless to say, I did not carry my camera or even my phone into the rainy mess that was the beach when we left the car. Darn it.

We were all settling in for our picnic when my little guy started to shiver, ask for more sweaters, still shivered and wanted to have a nap...a nap! on a towel. This did not look good. We stayed a little longer to watch the sunset together. This was another magic in itself. The few folks left on the beach gathered in couples and small groups or all alone, along the edge of the receding ocean to see the sun burn out its last light of the day in glory. I turned, at the end, and found that up on the dune, more people had joined us in watching the sun set, in a communal act of admiration and awe. There was a feeling of togetherness, unspoken, unintentional and completely universal just then, and it was better than the sunset on the beach.

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