12928308_10208169067837758_3654642524568303692_nWe’re down the shore in Ocean City for the girls’ spring break. We usually come here in August with all the other families carting beach umbrellas and sunscreen. I wasn’t thinking of this week as a beachy vacation (just a change of scenery and a chance to get some rooms in our house painted while most of us are not there), but it started snowing in big clumps on the drive down here yesterday, which was a little alarming. Spring does not know what it wants or who it is right now.

I was, however, looking forward to being here off season, when there must be half as many people in town as there are in the summer. And I was heartened to see the sun this morning and hear the snow melting in small rivers off the roof. St. James Beach, up at the top of our street and one of my favorite places on earth, looked just as lovely with ice frosting the sand earlier today as it does on a scorching hot morning.

Last night we went out for an icy stroll, and I walked down the middle of the empty street. Our feet crunched in the snow on the boardwalk. It felt strange to be wearing a coat, hat, and boots, not just in April, but here in OC, where we are usually in sunglasses and flip-flops. We got acquainted with two rabbits who had paused in an empty lot where a new beach house is going up.

Most of the family (husband, mother, sister, and niece, along with Kate’s best friend) is here until Tuesday, and then it will be just the girls and me for the rest of the week. I’m looking forward to running on the practically deserted boardwalk in the mornings.

I like empty places. A college campus in summer, restaurants between the lunch and dinner rush. Movie theaters when you’re the only one there. My car with just me in it. Last night, lying under a lot more covers than I usually do when we stay here, with Sara’s hand against my cheek (she had crawled into bed next to me and thrown her arm open in her sleep), I savored the pitch black of the room and the absolute silence.

My life is only as bustling as I choose — I work at home, editing, so most of my day can be as quiet as I want it to be. And I want it to be. It’s not that I don’t like sound and action, and I can talk you under the table if you let me. But there’s a recharge that happens in the quiet. The extra space helps me find myself amid all the chatter.








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