One reason we chose to retire in Door County is that it felt like coming home.
This place doesn’t seem to change much over the years, and that consistency has been comforting in this year of so much personal change.
Today, I’m appreciating the familiarity of this place. I know it. I like that five generations of my family have come to this beach.
When my grandparents bought this land in 1934, they built a simple vacation cabin. They loved to walk the beach and collect stones. My grandfather favored coral, and in fact, being a chemist, found an acid that could highlight the coral and eat away the stone.
FYI, there are three kinds of coral that wash up on this beach:
Just like her parents, my mother also walked the beach, looking for interesting finds. She sought brachiopods, those eons-old, clam-like animals that lived here when this was a Silurian sea.
Recently my niece was here with her young family. She and her boys hunted beach glass.
Her little boys spent much of their days collecting skipping stones and looking for special rocks to put in their pockets. (Just like mine used to do several years ago.)
And unchanging. My mom worried that with our inherited propensity to sleep with our windows open so we could hear the waves, we might get cold. So when they built this cabin, she purchased blankets. Lots of them. Usually, they sit year after year on the same high shelves without much use. But this year, as I grabbed the army blanket that my father had been issued in World War II, I paused for a moment.
Here I was, grabbing a blanket to take to the beach so we could lie flat on our backs and watch the Perseids meteor showers that come with regularity every August. And just like we have done for so many years, we could not help but yell out and exclaim as each new white star fell and streaked across the sky. And just as I had done with my childhood friends and then my children, now my sons and their friends are the ones exclaiming and counting up the number of stars that fall in a show of glory. Like so many people before them, they watched for beauty in a bright sky full of stars, some of them falling, but most of them not.
Some things change, but an awful lot stays the same. For that, I am glad.