Then. Now. Then again.

I’ve been coming to this beach since I can remember. I’m sitting in the kitchen. The mouth of St. Peter’s Bay, PEI, opens to the Gulf of St.Lawrence. The sandspit point of Greenwich reaches out and fails against the inky waves. Buoys bob and sway.

It’s 2006, but when I close my eyes on that shore and sink my toes in and suck in a deep nasal breath, sharp and salty in the back of my throat, it’s the early 80s again and I’m the kid on the beach, still a worrying type, but appreciative of the screeching dune terns, the endless night skies, the brace of a seawater cannonball dives, and the soothing grit of sand on sore feet.

Yesterday at sunset we set off fireworks. I stood for a moment with the Island and my life at my back, facing that mouth to the sea — that eternal view — and returned. Back there again. Back here. Grandma in the cottage baking a blueberry buckle, Grandpa praising with his trumpet on the front porch. How Great Thou Art. The smell of Mrs. Kenny’s white bread toast with real butter at 11PM. Safety. Comfort.

Then a little furry head poked between my hip and arm. “Come on, Dad! Let’s light them!” My little boy! Love.

A sandy mound of wispy crabgrass longs to be a dune, building one captured grain at a time in front of the cottage. It will probably obscure the view one day. But not the perspective. I’m gonna give my furry little carefree kids that.

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