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The four hour and thirty minute drive to Kemah, Texas was enough to give me the audacity to jump out the window and join the bugs as they splat against the passing cars. I sleep half the time and look out the window the other half of the time. I am always looking, looking out of the window to see something to pull me out of my trance, to inflict what a journey should bring. To inflict gratitude, awe and wonder is what I beg for from a new destination, from a new book or from whatever. I yearn for it so much so that I almost forget that it is there as my constant companion. There are brief moments when it rises back up again, but memory always lets the wind carry it away, but this vacation anchored it down. This vacation anchored gratitude, awe and wonder back to me.
Kemah’s Boardwalk Inn is conveniently sitting on the gulf, situated only twenty or thirty minutes between Galveston beach and NASA. The Boardwalk Inn is a white structure that curves inward to the boardwalk and it’s bright-eyed guests. It is quaint and warm from the air that blows over the bay, a bay that mixes fresh and salt water into a blue-greenish tinge. With luggage being dragged sorely behind my family and I, we slip the keycard into the door. If it hadn’t have been heard before, the music now drifted lively through the balcony door to greet us. We spent the night on the balcony. The sun set against our faces as we drifted in and out of our hotel room. My dad had his legs propped up on the railing with a cold beer in his hand, he had Noah, my nine year old brother on his lap bouncing to the music. He threw me a couple of strong thumbs ups and high fived with my fifteen year old brother, Nicholas. It was just my family out there for minutes at a time. My mom would emerge and my dad’s arm would wrap around her waist pulling her to him, he would proceed in asking her,
“This is the life, isn’t it?”
She would answer in agreement from a low rumble in her throat. But, it was. It was a moment of sure goodness. I was in wonder. Wonder is often lost in this world. We are desensitized and all-knowing. It is hard to find goodness, truth and beauty in a moment and recognize it as it is and to be in wonder of it. I could see it standing on that balcony, leaning forward, supported by my elbows. It was there glowing in my eyes. Beauty from my parents, a love that I often overlooked that was as kind and as simple as an arm around a waist. Goodness from the bay, that kissed the boardwalk in a soothing rhythm back and forth never retreating, but always crawling back. Truth of the moment, that I was real and grounded in this world to feel a moment of wonder that many are too busy to uncover. It is almost paralyzing to know that the moment of sheer wonder that I marvel over is but a flicker in time, ignored and trivial. But, it is my flicker in time that surpasses life’s tragedies, my tragedies, that I share and share and share with you. The vacation at Kemah grew from that balcony. We visited NASA at Houston and swam with the seaweed at Galveston Beach. All great, but not wonderful, not like that first night.