I don’t really think of myself as a Florida person. I’ve spent time there in the past, mostly when I was working for the Air Force, and thoroughly enjoyed it every time I got to go- Hurlburt Field is in a pretty terrific location and also, of course, I loved the job that I was doing at the time. But I’ve never thought much about going there on vacation, and certainly never for spring break. Spring break is for ski trips, after all! However, I AM the sort of person who is able to love (nearly) everywhere that I go, and thus, our trip to St. Augustine, Florida, for spring break of all things, was pretty wonderful.
Of course, it’s tough to go wrong when you have a beautiful, luxurious, 5 bedroom house right on the beach, with a deck where you can sit and hear the waves crashing and watch the sun come up over the horizon every morning, or see the pelicans riding an air cushion along the shoreline in a single-file line…
And that is exactly what we had. We rented a house along with another family, also not our usual style, but this family is pretty special to us. We met them years ago, back when we all were fully homeschooling our kids- their 3, our 2, and the kids’ ages match up well and everybody not only gets along but really, really likes each other. And we adults like each other too! It was truly a wonderful few days there in Florida in early April.
As for the location, it couldn’t have been better. The house was about 20 minutes south of St. Augustine, and I’m very thankful for that. I actually could have done without the actual St. Augustine part; again, it was spring break, and thus the city itself was so crowded that you could hardly move through the lovely old streets. But back at our house, all was well. We had two spacious floors of gorgeously tiled house, with comfortable, large bedrooms and bathrooms, and of course, there were picture windows with views of the beach from every single room. I spent as much time as I possibly could manage just sitting on the back deck, listening to the pounding surf, feeling the wind coming off the ocean. In the mornings, and I’m thrilled to report that I managed to watch the sun come up every single day that I was there, I was usually alone out on the deck, just me and my cup of coffee and the pelicans. There is something calming and grounding about the ocean, and I could have continued my meditations for many days more.
We didn’t do much on this trip; I eschewed a zip lining tour and said no to shelling out cash to see the Fountain of Youth, and yet doing nothing was exactly what I needed. The kids had a terrific and very busy time of bicycling along the coastal paths and treasure hunting on the beach and just generally hanging out with their friends. But me? No. I sat. And listened. And prayed lots. And thought of mom and all that she taught me to do and to be.
And for the first time in a while, I was able to think of her without that overwhelming feeling of sadness.
Turns out maybe I’m sort of a Florida person after all.