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Beach Therapy

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

Nature has always been a place of grounding for me, especially the beach in my young adult life. While I was born in Florida I had the developing experience of living in a few other states before I stepped out of the nest and into the world and love all outdoor spaces.

After some "adventurous" years in Charlotte, NC I found myself returning to home in order to go to school as it was simply impossible any other way. That was truly a transitional and challenging time, as finding yourself and surviving your early 20s is for most. To help stay sane I would often head out to Pensacola Beach at night and watch the thunderstorms offshore while being serenaded by the relentless, yet soothing, crash of the waves. In my mind I would solve all of the world's problems and find myself refocused, if only for the briefest of respites. I've spent countless hours on beaches and islands since then doing that very thing.

I've written briefly about my tremendous disdain for politicians and politics and my involvement in the very thing I despise in my efforts to make life better, and easier, for the generations of firefighters coming behind me. After being suspended for union involvement, investigated, chastised, embarrassed, harassed, and a handful of other adjectives over the last few months we are truly one step closer to fixing this place. Then I get phone call from the fire chief at 7:30 in the evening, while I was at home, telling me we have to meet with the county administrator in a few days and he has no idea why. Ugh, here we go again.

I've lost so much sleep to this place lately. The sleepless nights and physical exhaustion that come with the work are expected, and dare I say embraced when it matters, but the persistent, omnipresent, and relentless grinding drone of stress from doing what is right is so much worse.

Yesterday the day arrived and as staffing is so bloody bad here I was unable to get coverage to head into admin so we drove the one million dollar ladder truck off of the island, through the city, and down to admin as a crew. Let's just say the meeting was not what I expected and now that the final step is complete we can finally unleash the dogs of war!

I had tried to head over the dunes earlier in the shift but the boardwalk was still closed from Hurricane Sally so, reluctantly, I turned away. Once we were back on the island the need to be on the shore was palpable so barriers be damned! 😉 Seconds later I was barefoot, walking in the sand, and listening to my beloved Gulf of Mexico. Though I was not truly free, and had to stay close to the firehouse, it was perfect. Spent ten minutes talking to a guy from Wisconsin, the only other person on the beach, about my hometown and gave him directions to my two favorite restaurants out here. It was nice talking to a stranger and finding that brief connection that we've all been missing lately.

A storm was threatening to roll in and though the day was hazy I snapped about a dozen pictures before plopping my backside down in the sand to process and reconnect. On the Shenandoah trips I started playing around with the editing capabilities on my iPhone and have since downloaded Lightroom from Adobe. Just a few days ago I installed it on my Mac and just needed to find a reason to spend some time discovering.

Mother Nature is the perfect therapist.

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