Saturday, October 16, 2010

Postcard from Bethany Beach

by J J Cohen

The middle of October always brings a "Professional Day" for teachers in the local public school system as they are released to attend their state convention. We've made a tradition of heading to the shore for this three day weekend. The weather is reliably good and people are insane enough around DC to believe that one doesn't seek the coast after Labor Day. We often have hiking trails and long expanses of beach to ourselves. And is there anything more beautiful than the noise of the water upon sand? I was reading Michel Serres's short book Genesis just before I left, and I keep thinking about his obsession with the creative spur that marinal disorder yields. I believe it. There is nothing so calming as the ceaseless agitation of the sea.

And having a family weekend together in a semester that has brought so much travel for me is not so bad either. Now that Alex is 13, he sometimes doesn't want to be with us (shocking!), but here along the ocean he reconnects with the younger Alex who overturned every rock in search of crabs. Katherine follows his lead, and the two of them can lose themselves in contemplation of little ecosystems for hours together (before Katherine invariably announces that it is time for ice cream).

Though I'm dealing with another student plagiarism case every time I turn on my laptop, we've also enjoyed some of the best hiking we've had on the Eastern Shore, so maybe that makes up for the slate of meetings with students in trouble I have set up for next week. A little.


Steve Mentz said...

Now that the sand's out of your toes, I've stolen fragments of this happy scene & re-routed it into academispeak, over at my blog. Just in case you're nostalgic...

Jeffrey Cohen said...

I read it this morning; excellent food for thought. I am hoping I'll have time to post some reflections later today.