Our last day in Norfolk came quickly. We knew it would be a quick trip. But we knew it would be worth everything we had to do to get there. Seeing Eric and his friend was great, and fun. Being on the aircraft carrier out on the sea was more than we imagined. But there was one more thing I wanted to do before we left. See the sunrise on the beach!
I was dog tired come Sunday morning! We'd been living on very little sleep and just a bit of adrenaline for a full week. (Ah! I didn't tell about everything we had to do before going on this trip did I? Well, some of my readers already know.) So when I woke up at 5:30 in the morning I began debating in my mind if I really wanted to get up and go to the beach for photos. I knew I'd be going alone. It would have been nice to have someone come along, but alone was better than not at all. I did decide that 5:30 was too early to get up. So I dozed back off and awoke again around 6. I was sooo tired, I still, really wanted to just sleep! But something inside of me reminded myself, I could sleep all I wanted to on the way home. This would be my last chance to see the ocean for who-knows-how-long! It'd already been nearly 10 years since the last time I saw it (not counting the day before!). So I dragged my weary body quietly out of bed, got dressed as quietly as I could so I wouldn't wake the others (difficult in a tiny motel room!). I got the camera and made my way outside. By the time I got to the beach side of the balcony I realized I was underdressed. So I stopped by the van and grabbed one of the fleece blankets the boys left in there, and used it for a wrap. It was breezy and quite cool out there. But listening to the sound of the waves, I knew I'd made the right choice!
It was really dark out there, it was hard to see where I was walking and where the buttons were on the camera. I walked up and down the beach a little, listening and looking, even got my feet wet (brrr!).
The sun wasn't up yet, and I realized it would be at least an hour before I actually would see the sun. But there was already color in the sky, and I was so happy just to be there and not have anyone rushing me to go back, yet.
I saw very quickly, a bright shiny star (planet!) near the horizon. It's been too long since I read up on any astronomy, so I'll have to guess it's either Venus or Mars, most likely Venus(?). My first few shots I was moving too much and the star came out more like a streak, so I got out my mini tripod and got this one!
I even tried a couple shots with the self timer on the camera, since there was no one there to take a picture of me at the ocean.
I watched the seagulls, ducks and even ships out on the horizon A helicopter flew over, and I remembered the ones that escorted us out to open sea the day before.
Soon, the sky grew lighter and I tried many attempts at capturing shots of the gulls as they flew around or walked along the water's edge.
By now I was sitting on a dune, just soaking it all in and getting carried away watching the birds (and took way too many photos of them!), and playing in the sand.
I was so caught up in watching the birds, I nearly missed the moment that brought me here! I looked to my right......and there it was! Day Break! AHHH! HOW BEAUTIFUL!
I stayed on the beach at least another hour. It was just too good to leave so soon. The sound of the surf, the feel of the air, and the realization that a lonely beach was anything but boring! I wished I could stay forever!
The new light of the day allowed me to see things I didn't see when I first came out.
Soon my camera card was full. I hadn't brought another one to the beach with me either. I didn't know how long I had been there, but could guess it must be time to head back to the room.
I headed back to the fence that separated the parking lot from the beach, and as I came around the end of the fence, there was my husband at the van. Everyone was awake and most the things were packed already.
The part of the trip that I dreaded had come. Saying goodbye to the ocean, and even more dreaded...saying goodbye to our son.
The room seemed hot after being out in that ocean air so early. I unrolled my pants cuffs, and laughed quietly as I watched a small pile of sand fall out of each of them. Why did I laugh? One of my grandpa's nicknames for me when I was a little girl was.....Sandy Pants!
It had been a beautifully peaceful morning, one like I could only dream about before now. I was glad I decided to get up and take photos and spend time alone on the beach. These photos, and a few rocks to hold down the letters from my sailors on my desk at home, were my souvenirs of a fantastic weekend.