Getting Old in Cape Hillsboro

Cape Hillsboro turned out to be one of the best beaches we’ve seen. We got to the park early in the morning and were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the beach was. We immediately took a walk to explore the place, and came upon a trail that led from the beach up to a lookout and back down to the campground. It was hot out, but the trail was full of life. Brush turkeys (which I cannot say without sounding the way that Jimmy Walker would say, “jive turkey”) scratched in the dirt searching for food. Several different types of butterflies whirled about our heads as we walked. Lizards dove off the trail into the bushes as we passed. Snakes retreated (luckily) into the brush. After our walk we took our chairs and our iPods down to the sand and proceeded to listen to some lectures as we gazed at the scenery. We commented on how wonderful the sand was. It was incredibly fine and felt fantastic on the feet. Of course, there is a price to pay for sand that feels lovely on the feet: it is frickin’ sticky. We had slathered ourselves with sunblock before we went out. This particular sunblock we bought was a grocery store generic sunblock called “Homebrand” sunblock and we got it for the ridiculously low price of $11 Australian for a LITER. This sunblock was very easy to rub in, but tended to be a bit on the greasy side. Hence, when the wind started to kick up something fierce, the beautiful sand began to stick to us in a manner that became somewhat uncomfortable. In the span of an hour my legs resembled churros, covered in what looked to be cinnamon and sugar. The wind got so bad that we finally had to retreat to the showers.

Things got better later on in the evening when we decided to chance it and take a walk along the beach. The wind had died down and the setting sun left a faint bluish glow on the wet sand. The tide was going out and we discovered these tiny crabs that were digging their holes in the sand in a peculiar way. Over the entire beach were what looked like purposeful patterns of little balls of sand. The crabs rolled up the sand as they went and then pushed it back up onto the beach. Some left simple piles outside of the hole, but most carried or pushed them out in what turned out to look like intricate mehndi patterns. We spent a good deal of time watching to see if we could catch some of them in action. We did see a few crabs at work, but most were either done for the night or were busy in their holes rolling more sand beneath the surface.

During our stroll on the beach that evening, something personally significant happened as well. We were walking along and Adam exclaimed, “You’ve got a gray hair!”

Um, I think not. It had to just be one of those freak blond hairs. “Do you want me to pull it out?” he asked, perhaps a little too eagerly. And he did. And it was a gray hair. Not just a gray hair, but one of those wiry, white ones. I nearly choked. What the hell was that doing on my head? I thought back to a few days earlier when I had plucked an eyebrow hair that looked suspiciously white-ish, but I had dismissed it. Could this really be happening now that I have sworn off dying my hair for the year?

In the end it’s not something that I will continually fret over, but it was a bit of a reality check. I have spent my entire adult life often forgetting that I am a “grown-up.” I’ll have these bizarre moments of consciousness where I will look at my life and think, “My God! I am a totally self-sufficient adult with a career.” In my mind, my parents are grown-ups, not me. Similarly I have always refused to believe that I will ever look much different than I do now. Being confronted with evidence to the contrary, even just a minute piece of evidence, has made me realize otherwise.

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