I pushed aside the curtain to the yoga class and knew I was too late. Chock-a-block sticky mats only inches apart from each other, guarded by their owners in various twists or (my favorite) corpse pose, waiting for the teacher to start. With so many bodies packed together, the room already smelled. I left. Maybe later I will pick up another class to shake out kinks from a week of too much sitting. Instead, I headed to the beach.
Parking near our kayak launch spot, I zipped my jacket and pulled up my hood. A cloudless sky but a decent wind made for brisk walking and I headed over to the sandy beach, deserted but for a distant man with a fishing rod stuck in beside him. It was still early – not even the gulls were out to explore the morning’s pickings. This beautiful spot is only minutes from our home. During the summer, we get down here whenever we can to paddle away from shore in our yellow kayak. We rarely step on to this sandy stretch – the beach where swimmers and sunbathers crowd. I am drawn here only when I know it will be deserted – early or late or during a storm. This morning, the water like glass barely lapping against the tightly packed sand. No waves today, at least, not yet. Looking out at the islands we kayak around, I was tempted to rush home and pull Rob out of bed to join me in yet one more outing on the water. But we get wet in our flat ocean-kayak and the thought of sitting damp in a boat with a stiff wind blowing was enough to keep me on my sandy trek up, and then down again, the length of the beach.
At one point, with a nod to the yoga class I was missing, I stretched. Hanging over, my arms heavy, releasing my back and gradually loosening until my fingertips barely touched the sand, the moving tide seemed also to be trying to reach my toes. Breathing in and out of my nose, filling my lungs with sweet air and releasing again while marveling at the beauty on my doorstep. As a child growing up in NYC, I longed for such access to nature. Just to go outside, I needed to ride the creaky elevator and although magnificent VanCortlandt park was just across the street, I could not venture into the woods for fear of scary men. Remembering this, I feel grateful for my world and the morning’s too crowded yoga class.