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Beach at Assateague Island, Virginia
My mind kept wandering back to the Atlantic shore today. Feeling the sand with my toes, and waves washing over my bare feet. The beach at Assateague Island National Seashore is the axis mundi , the preferred place of pilgrimage that draws me when I feel the urge to go forth without socks and baptize the soles of my feet in saltwater. Alas, Louisville, Kentucky on the Ohio River is too far away for a day trip. And while I enjoy an early morning round of “slow parkour” on the ancient fossil-bearing rocks at the Falls of the Ohio, the murky waters of the river at Louisville are not a tempting toe dip.
The last time I dipped my toes in the ocean was last August at Cape May, New Jersey. I took a little hike in the Pine Barrens, then drove on to the sea. It was a good day. I go down to the Atlantic shore, as Whitman wrote, to “Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all,” to see my “fierce old mother.” Though I was born in the middle of the continent far from the sea, and have lend a mostly landlocked life, the fierce old mother calls to me. I am one of her castaways.