Visiting California as a middle-schooler I was surprised to hear that many locals rarely went to the beach. When you live close to it you aren't as thrilled by it as the tourists I supposed. Back then, while growing up in landlocked North Dakota, I never imagined I'd wind up living four miles from a tourist destination beach like we do now and I can see how one slips into "been there done that mode". Between October and April it is a rare occasion that I venture to the water's edge. It's too cold, too windy, too chilly, too much effort. May brings a renewed vigor for beach days but by August it has become old hat.
While lying back in my beach chair one day observing my boys, the waves and the beauty of it all I thought of my trips to California and how precious they were to me then. Scanning the visiting beach families, obvious by their flaming red sunburned shoulders or Quebec license plates in the parking lots, I realized that many of these people had probably saved their money all year to spend a few days in what is essentially my neighborhood's backyard. How could I take such grandeur for granted anymore?
A few days later I gathered my boys and beach gear and we went ahead of the crowds to our favorite spot. The sun had just risen and made silhouette cutouts of my sons playing football in the shallow tide. The waves hadn't picked up yet with the day and we had this place to ourselves. It was serene in a way only the ocean can be. Calm, mysterious, inherently magical. I vowed to do this more often, to do it year-round, to do it by myself or on date night with my husband or with girlfriends and a bottle of white.
Everyone's hometown has some kind of wonderful nearby. Where I grew up it was the Missouri River, the wide open prairie, the sunset on the horizon as far as the eye could see. Now I am blessed with the sunrise on the Atlantic as far as the eye can see and the sunset behind the tall tree line in my backyard.
Find the magical in your neighborhood's backyard and make an effort to be a tourist in your own hometown sometime this summer. It can change your perspective on your surroundings when you see the blessings nature has had there for you all along.