I am a Rhode Islander this summer, just as I was a Rhode Islander for the first 18 years of my life. I’m living in a tiny beach house that has my name on the mortgage, the culmination of two generations of saving and one of spending. I have always wanted a beach house, as did my mother and I’ll bet my grandfather. They both died too young and lived too afraid to spend their money on their own joy. I’m trying to rectify that. This tiny house is a tribute to living before you die.
Let me tell you about it. It has two bedrooms and one area without a door that we’ve turned into a bedroom by hanging sliding Ikea panels. It is the perfect place for 16-year-old boys and moles. The kitchen is a galley with a peninsula that serves as kitchen table, desk, bar, etc. It is the surface if you’re looking for a surface. There is actually no free-standing dining table in the house, nor a working oven, but that’s what outside is for. We roast on the grill and eat under an umbrella.
A deck runs the length of the house. It overlooks a big, ugly house that overlooks a big beautiful pond that is also a bird sanctuary. We can look around the house and see two mute swans and their baby, loads of as-yet-unidentified sea birds, and an osprey that my husband has bonded with. At night, the sunsets rock.
The ocean is a two-minute walk down the street. We can hear it, which is what I’ve craved since I read this line from Elizabeth Berg’s The Pull of The Moon: “I want a place by the ocean, where you can hear the water any time you decide to pay attention…”
I love to see, smell and hear the ocean. Tasting it on my lips after a dip isn’t bad either, but I am a little scared to touch it. I respect Mother Nature and know the power of those waves, though I’m probably a bit too intimidated for my own good. I’ll go in, but only if I can see the bottom. I’ll ride waves, but only with a boogie board to keep my feet from touching ickiness. My greatest problem has always been seaweed. Touching it with my legs gives me the willies and picking it up literally makes me queasy – I know, because I lifted a piece today in my quest to get over this aversion. It’s one of my goals for the summer. I’m going to read at least a book a week. I’m going to write, paint the deck railing and revel in the warmth of community my beach neighborhood provides. I’m going to embrace the ick that is seaweed.