Key page to help you connect the dots...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Rocks at Chesapeake Beach reflect an image of my "now"...

an image that is always with me...
an image I've translated, literally, into this blog

the background reflects the palest azure pastel of the waves hitting the shoreline...

the dateline, and titles for both the blog entries and the side panel share the color of the sandy shore right before it turns to shades of goldish tan

the text for both the blog entries, as well as the side panel (in most gadget entries) mirror the deep blue color of the sky to your upper right, or to those familiar with the venue, northeast of The Rocks if you were facing the west part of the Eastern shore...

the lavender background to the header was taken from the organza like layer of pinks and purples which appears to be stroked by God's hand across the sky just above the water... 

As you can see Project Rewire has a new look, but to me, it's really an image of my past blended with my "now".  In my last couple of stretched out far and in between posts, I've been going backwards to catch up to now.  Yet, my "now" is in reality a colorful melange of all of my yesterdays.  Some, more than others.  In images.  In memories.  In life changing circumstances, experiences and challenges.  Some enriching.  Some the epitome of the opposite.  So, purely living in the moment, logically just isn't possible in my mind.  Why?  Because we're composed of everything we bring into the moment, in any given moment.  How we react; how we feel; how we think and how adept we are at filtering.  (A theme I continue to carry on throughout this blog.)  Much in living in the moment depends on the experiences we've had.  It really can come into play when we're visiting a meaningful place from our past.  A heartstring place, as I like to call them.  Much in living in the moment in such a place depends on whether we're carrying emotional baggage -- positive, negative, or even a sense of ambivalence, related to that place.  A key thing is what we choose to filter out and what we don't.  Although we can indeed live day to day, moment to moment the fibers of our being are woven together intricately with our pasts and our nows.  Thus, creating a one of a kind collage of our very existence.  Just think about it.  See, if you see any logic to my reasoning.

The Rocks at Chesapeake Beach, themselves, have barely changed since the day I first saw them through the eyes of a ten year old girl in 1963.  I remember taking the path which at that time was across from the old WWII lookout tower on what was then known as Wise Drive.  (A long gone tower from my years at the beach that stood sentry for many years.)  It was my first time ever to investigate the beach part of Chesapeake Beach and where we'd soon be moving once all of the remodeling was completed in our new residence.  It was exciting and a little intimidating for an introverted girl like me.  It was going to be our home, but it surely didn't feel like it.  However, as soon as I spied The Rocks, they captured me and every single inch of the beach (and stuff) in between.  It dawned on me, that there may be hope, that maybe, just maybe, eventually I'd feel happy about our impending move.  That, maybe, just maybe, over time, I'd adjust.  This was a huge revelation, because I loved where we were living in Norview so much and was secure there in my daily routine.  Consequently, the anxiety over leaving my friends, my school and the only home I'd ever known, was getting to me. That's a whole 'nother story for another time, though! 

So, back to The Rocks... 

Originally, they were placed there years before the day I discovered them to shore up a government placed fence separating the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base from the "private beach".  A strand of beach which runs eastward to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  Where... from this point forward... what I'll be calling "the old fence" extended into the Bay, The Rock's formed its much required and sturdy foundation.

During my decades away from my beloved Chesapeake Beach, of course, I've visited The Rocks the few times I've traveled back home.  Even if I tried, there's simply no way around it.  It's as if they draw me to them, and usually, they're one of the first places I go.  Each time we reunite, I look very closely for changes.  Inside me, I believe if they're the same, well, whatever other changes have transpired to change "my beach" or the "village" atmosphere of the Chesapeake Beach area, I'll be able to absorb (and shake off) a little bit easier.  Fortunately, when it comes to The Rocks, they're one thing I can actually say, appear to be pretty much as I left them when I moved away, so so many years ago.  In Virginia Beach, now that's a rarity and a blessing to we locals living there and elsewhere. 

Albeit, they're a tiny bit smoother and worn over time as they've weathered a countless variety of ebbing and flowing tides and storms.  It's always reassuring to see that the moss and barnacles are still there.  And that my favorite "seat" rock is where I left it.  The other rocks appear to be aligned and arranged without any change.  While every type of weather event from quickly moving thunder storms and microbursts, to wicked No'Eastern tempests, to tropical storms, hurricanes, and yes, blizzards, have tried to beat them down to separate them from each other and ultimately, destroy them.  However, they've remained unmoved, unshaken, and still very much connected to each other.  

Even during times when the Bay appeared to over take them, and they were hidden under water and crashing waves, they re-emerged no less worse for the wear.  In fact, adorned naturally with twisted driftwood, a variety of seashells, lacy seaweed and various sea life from starfish to even seahorses, at times.  They have truly stood the test of time.  Much like my friends from way back when and who I've only recently reconnected with during the past couple of years after too too many years.  We've all weathered our own storms and crises.  But, we're still here with hearts of the kids and teens we once were beating inside us.  With spirits stronger (and wiser, thankfully) than ever because we know we've made it through some rough spots more than a time or two.  However, as with some of us, The Rocks' immediate surroundings, what they were most familiar with, have most definitely changed, like mine have. 

The most obvious change for The Rocks is that the old fence that was such an important part of them -- their true reason for existing -- was declared no longer viable by some powers that be.  The old fence that they actually helped to hold up in the shallow Bay waters during a multitude of extreme weather conditions, was severed from them.  Then, hauled away.  A new fence has now taken its place and stands a few feet further back on the Amphib Base side of the beach.  While the big sand dune that once ran along side the old fence has been replaced by something not resembling its predecessor.  The big sand dune that gave we kids (and unwanted public visitors) quick and easy access to The Rocks and the beach from the very end of Lauderdale Avenue is now a huge tangled uninviting mess of sand covered in weeds and unbecoming foliage from the ave side to the beach.  The mess is mingled in what appears to be multiple bulldozings of extra sand brought in from who knows where and fortified with Lord knows what else, as filler to create a buffer for the Thompson's & Alexander's property.  The ultimate effect means no one in their right mind would attempt to gain access through or over the unsightliness.  

It stung me harshly all over like wind blown sand in a bad storm when it first caught my eye.  I literally winced out loud.  However, it's very understandable, because sand moves.  It doesn't stick together.  It doesn't hold tight, or firm.  And too many vicious storms have left their marks and blemishes on that beach and the beach front properties.  Even hanging out together collectively to make up a beach, particles of sand can't withstand violent weather like The Rocks obviously can.  It gets gouged out, washed away and reclaimed by nature's own "recycling -- reclaim it" plan.  Erosion happens and has become a never ending problem to manage.  So, I'm not whining about the look of the old dune now, it just took me back and made me sad for spell about all of it.  My living in the moment was merged with memories of the Lauderdale Avenue area of my youth and all of we neighborhood kids.  I quickly chose to filter out my heart pang reactions to the sights I didn't like and move on to the comfort and peace The Rocks offered to me. 

Since then, as the feelings have tried to creep over me in thinking back to those moments that morning, I've tossed off the sadness by choice.  I made sure not to take any photos of the things that bothered me, so they wouldn't become more ingrained in me.  Also, so I couldn't return to those views whenever I glance through my photos during rainy day perusing.   

Instead, I'll continue to hold on tightly to my mind's eye images of the big sand dune and the old fence from my youth and recall playful times spent there.  I also have a lovely tangible reminder, a scar on my right knee from a certain summer day when I was 19 and a minibike's throttle stuck wide open with me on it.  Yep, heading straight for the old fence waaaay too fast to have a happy ending.  Thinking quickly, I dove rather than to allow the old government divider to win.  But, my kneecap and I still paid for it.  My old kneecap is still paying for it.  Thankfully, though, my face and head didn't.      

The Rocks in my photo above and on the header reflect an image that's always in my mind.  They are known to and hold the affection of many "locals" from the Chesapeake Beach and surrounding areas.  They are my very own "heart" place.  One, I believe that I share with other once locals and locals in residence, too.  Once a local -- always a local.  

My reasons for choosing the photo... 

I selected this particular image of The Rocks for Project Rewire's new header from a number of photos I took during my trip "back home" this past summer for my high school class reunion.  A reunion which created a wonderful domino effect of an assortment of reunions.  It's not my best shot from my trip back home, but I chose it because it holds some special new memories for me.  It was the first time time my husband and I walked together on my old beach in a long... long... long... time.  In fact, we've only had the opportunity to take that stroll together maybe a couple of times before during the years since we first met.  This particular morning, the place obviously captured him in a way it hadn't quite before.  He saw clearly all that I miss and want to come back to -- in spite of the changes.  He "got" it and I could see that he experienced a draw to the area, too.

The morning couldn't have been more perfect... 

It was early morning, cool and misting in sunshine and sun breaks, while simultaneously, a storm was passing over the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  The views all around were contrasting with each other seamlessly and beautifully.  The sheer depth of colors was amazing.  Rays of sunlight broke through naturally spotlighting the Bay making it glisten.  The bright rays highlighted whitecap wave peaks, the water, boats and kayakers on the Bay.  Beams of sunlight hit the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, the sandy shoreline, Seagulls and Sandpipers, and roof tops of old cottages and newer homes.  And, reflected off beach walkers' sunglasses, as the sunglasses mirrored images as the wears took in their surroundings.  Just to give you an idea of a few of the things my eyes captured without looking through my camera's viewfinder.  A lot to absorb?  Not really.  Every piece and particle of that morning was a welcome sight.  As for the the emotions that came along with it, although admittedly they were ying-yangy, over all they were sweet.  

The 360 degree scene was woven together, as if it had been painted by one of the masters upon a massive sky meets the bay Chesapeake Beach scenery mural.  The scene changed constantly like the waves hitting the shore.  Some moments lasted a minute or so, while others only seconds.  Cloud cover created momentary moving shadows across the entire beach scape.  The mist and ever changing light, as usual, played with my little point 'n shoot camera's auto focus and also dampened my lens frequently.  But, for me, it couldn't have been more welcomed morning to walk on "my beach".  To be back enveloped in such beauty (from quaint to striking), and to be able to share it with my husband, just made it that much better.  

I guess it could go without saying, but the image above and reflected in the header is one that's forever etched in my heart.  Maybe more so, than it is upon my mind.  It's there with me every single day.  The draw has always been ever apparent, ever with me.  Yet, it's gotten stronger as I've gotten older.  Well, as I've mentioned before in this blog, of all the places on the planet, The Rocks are undeniably my special place of peace and solitude.  It's been that way all the way back to age ten.  Forty seven years later -- nothing has changed.  They're a "constant".  We all need various constants and "me" places.  With "me" places, whether they are in our daily grasp or view, or not, they're important to the very core of us.  Those places help to mold and make us the unique individuals that we are.  They help us stay connected to ourselves when life tries to get the best of us, when we weather our personal storms, crises and challenges.       

I'm sure there are other locals back home, or those who have heartstrings to the area living elsewhere that feel similarly.  To some who frequently walk along the shoreline on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, they're just the rocks that now sort of help fence in and contain the Amphib Base.  They apply no special meaning to them.  The don't see their value, nor the ties that some of us have to them.  That's fine, that makes them more special to me and to others who think fondly of them.  

They've been a welcome place for their fans to ponder life's questions.

They've been a healing place for hurt and despair to be released.

They've been a private place for giggles and secrets to be shared.

They've been a solid place to ponder the future and revel in, or shake off the past.  

They've been a welcomed place for weary tourists to rest for a few not realizing what a little bit of a haul it can be from Chic's Beach, the first time on two feet.

And The Rocks are a peaceful final resting place for a brave young woman's ashes after not winning her battle against breast cancer.  I still see that adorable girl in my mind's eye as she was as a child years and years ago when I last saw her.  Karen, your story of bravery and strength is still being shared.  You will never ever be forgotten.  I believe the Lord added the pink to the clouds in the image above as a reminder that you are resting in your special place of peace, The Rocks, pain free.  (I will never ever be able to look at that image and not think of you.  In person, it was breath taking.)    

Now, why did I feel compelled to renew the look of Project Rewire?  Plain and simple, this blog is very seriously one of my two "go to" rehab tools.  Tools, I still very much believe the Lord led me to incorporate and utilize to literally help rewire my brain.  It's not that it's a dark place, by any means, but I kept the background color dark navy-ish blue for about a year and a half.  Then, only in recent months did I change it to a dark forest green.  Mainly, because in and of itself, it was less distracting to me, and more comfortable on my eyes.  

When I write, it doesn't come easy.  What may appear to halfway flow while reading, is an upstream challenge for me in compilation.  Sometimes it's a battle to keep at it.  Colors, lights, and scrolling, get to me easily.  They can trigger un-fun sensations that once arrive, do not go away until I rest for the night.  So, I elected to keep things as simple "here" as possible.  I have to go back and forth between screens reading the Preview over and over and over and over and over again.  And, then some.  It's not as difficult as it was originally, but it's not smooth going, or flowing, by any means.  

When I'm blogging here, I'm focused on the rewire process.  I'm focused on the work at hand, which is a game of articulation and execution.  Retrieving words to make sentences that make sense enough to share.  Sharing from my life in the now and tapping into my memory banks to bring happenings back deliberately.  One, to sharpen them, so I won't lose them.  Two, to articulate those thoughts and images vividly, again in hopes to make sense enough to share.  And honestly, pulling as many words as I can, to rewire the areas in my brain damaged by Epilepsy, seizures, and brain lesions.  See, there's a reason and purpose for these super lengthy posts (with reference to comments I've heard about going overboard, or being utterly too lengthy and/or descriptive). 

It's quite like a connect the dot process in stringing yarn across and through tiny holes on an old puzzle picture those in my generation played with as children.  All of my brain dots aren't connected in certain places.  And in others, the yarn is frayed.  The yarn is much like some of the neuro-transmitters in my brain.  However, thanks to this blog and taking (and processing pictures - not editing), the connecting process, has improved, thankfully.  Project Rewire is working and will continue to be ongoing.  I'm not at a place where it's fun to blog here, though.  Not yet.  However, on my new blogging endeavor, All About Hamlet, blogging is  enjoyable because much of the focus is off of me.  Pure and simple.

But, here, it's certainly time for a change.  And maybe a different focus.  I want and need it to become a comfortable place for me, and for those who read here.  I'm betting that little slice of "my back home" in the form of The Rocks will help keep me keep focused as I incorporate my backwards with my now.  It'll also keep me in touch with my dream, as I navigate back and forth between only God knows how many preview screens. 

My goal at first when I decided to change the look of Project Rewire was to re-do other areas, too, that sorely need some renewing before going live with my little face lift change.  The right side panel needs some updating and photo exchanging.  I need to further tweak the colors and font sizes here and there to bring continuity.

But, my brain and I are a work in progress.  In an effort to live in the moment, un-filtered as much as possible and in keeping with my what you see is what you get -- it is what it is attitude, the renewing will be a process, rather than a hurdle.  So, cosmetically, the additional changes I want to make to Project Rewire aren't that important today.  

I'm learning to take things as they come; to do things as I go and let go of the unnecessary demands I tend to put upon myself.  We shall see how that goes!
One last comment about The Rocks, I hope and pray that the powers that be never decide to remove them.  They've held true to the test of time.  They've been there for me, and many of you.  They need to live on tangibly right where they are!   

Much of this way too long entry is dedicated to all of the old neighborhood kids with heartstring ties to Chesapeake Beach and The Rocks, and most especially to Karen Ochs. 


Rocket Man said...

Jeanne, you know that I feel the same way about The Rocks and now, knowing Karen's story, The Rocks mean all that much more to me. Each time we go home, as soon as we arrive at Mom's and unload the luggage, I head straight for Chic's to recharge my soul. That beach is always on my mind and I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about it, the people and the memories and how many more days are left until out next trip home. Those memories are so much more poignant now that I know Karen rests there, especially since my Dad's ashes were spread just offshore 7 years ago. Just 37 days to go and I'll be back on that sand no matter what the weather.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed our walk on the beach and our visit to your Rocks. The Rocks at Chesapeake Beach blog is just great. Your writing is from your heart and when I read it, it was heart felt. Love you! Your husband, Steve.