The ocean cures all ailments


“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”

— Van Morrison

Vacations have been precious and few across our lives, and if given the choice of where to spend a getaway, I don’t have to burn daylight contemplating my answer. The sea cures all ailments of man, according to Plato.

I was nearly 20 before I laid eyes upon the ocean, and the powerful peace it brought moved me to tears. We recently returned from a visit to our favorite family beach, quiet and serene, along the North Carolina shore. The tides carry such steady force, drawing us in, at times quietly lapping the shore. Within a few hours, the show-stopping waves churn higher and crash harder.

We take it all in with the assurance there is a power much greater than humble humans. Seeing this through the sparkling eyes of my young grandchildren was a gift like no other. We built sandcastles, gathered shells and spotted jellyfish lying on the shore. Sun, surf and endless sand on a wide-open beach was a brand new experience and made the long trip very much worth it.

So much of life is luck. We had not a single day of rain, enjoying a full week of glorious weather, incredible food and one another’s company. We ended the day with a storybook, and I hope my young grandchildren will remember pieces of this sweet slice of their young lives.

Each day of fun and relaxation is bittersweet, as it also brings us closer to the end of our stay. No matter how long the vacation, it is never quite enough, and I always find it hard to pack up to leave.

As we crossed the big bridge, leaving the quiet island, it was clear the summer crowd was arriving. Storms were forecast for every day. Our timing was impeccable.

Home is where I really want to be, though, and returning brings its own sweetness. My sister stayed at our place to look after things for us, and upon our return, the grass was greener, and the trees and flowers more full and beautiful than when we left. There is wonder in my own backyard across all four seasons, and I count myself among the lucky ones.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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