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  • The smell of the ocean always brings me back to my youth, of the hot sun beating down on me during that critical hour after a lunch of pepper and egg sandwiches and hard cooked eggs when it was too dangerous to swim. Cramps, the enemy. I loved body surfing in the waves, but my mother wouldn't let me back into the water until a full 60 minutes had passed. As soon as the time was up, I could go back in until my lips turned blue or it was time to go, but not a second earlier.

    I never learned how to swim since we made only 2 trips to water each year: one to Nantasket Beach, ocean waves, and one to a fresh-water pond on Cape Cod. These 2 day trips were the best days of my summer, riding the waves or playing in the shallows of the pond, trying to stay clear of the yukky stuff on the bottom. I can still remember eating lunch on our blanket, how I could never keep the sand off my hard cooked egg, how the flecks of black, white, and tan stood out against the egg's white, and when I tried to brush them off, even more sand would transfer from my fingers to the egg. I would finally have to go to the water and rinse off the sand, but one or two grains always ended up crunching in my mouth.

    Yesterday, at the ocean, the seashells on the shore mingled with the seaweed, broken horseshoe crabs and dead jellyfish. The shells were a natural mosaic arranged for my enjoyment amidst the swirling water and the joyful shouts of the boys surfing on boogie boards. Another natural place with sights and sounds and smells.
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