by Ellen Rice
There are some things that stay with you.
The winter of 1994 is one of them, particularly one stormy day. That winter was one of the greatest turning points in my life, an ending and a beginning, though to what I didn't know.
I was living in the summer home of a friend a block from the ocean that winter in a development known as Tower Shores for the World War II watchtower hidden away in the dunes.
This was a particularly icy winter. After one of many ice storms, the freeze was so bad that the tops of tree branches exploded throughout most of Sussex County. I never was sure why. It had something to do with freezing sap.
On this particular day there had been a raging storm, and my dog Hope and I hunkered down inside by the fireplace listening to windows rattle and roof shingles flap. When it ended, I dressed in a heavy down parka, gathered Hope and ventured out, only to turn around in order to shed the parka. Temps that had been in the teens were now in the 60s!
Outside again, I looked down and saw ocean debris at our feet. A block back, the ocean had come to our doorstep during the previous night as we slept.
As we crested the sand-covered boardwalk that led to the beach, there was almost an audible quiet before us.
The storm could be seen heading off to sea and the blush of dusk surrounded us, glancing off wave tops and foam. One lone gul sailed the wind currents above the water. Peace.
Gratitude filled me, and the peace I felt then floods my being still every time I think of this one beautiful moment. In "Gratitude," I'm sharing it now with you. Enjoy.