hiltonheadegrets.jpg

While we were on vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina, this was the scene that greeted me pretty much every day of our stay (save one very, very rainy day when it was just me standing on the covered pier and one very drippy duck out on the marshes).  The grasses were a bit browner than this (this is a summer shot), but the snowy egrets and the lush life of the marsh grass inlets was just as vibrant as you see here.

For most people, going to the beach means laying out on a towel and baking in the sun and sipping mai tais.  Not for me.  With my red hair, baking in the sun means I've slathered on 45 SPF sunscreen, I'm wearing a huge straw garden hat and I still turn into lobster girl in the heat of the day.

Which is why we generally go to the beach in the winter, when the crowds are lower and the full strength of the sun is not frying me.  The benefit of this strategy is that there are almost no people there other than the locals, you can have the beach all to yourself at sunrise sometimes, and when you go for a walk through a nature preserve, there is such a lovely silence other than the noises of the forest and marshes around you that you feel as though you are the only people alive on the earth.

In other words, for some folks who are workaholics and rarely take care of themselves as they ought to do (as both Mr. ReddHedd and I, frankly, are), it's the perfect relaxation haven.

One of the reasons we started going to Hilton Head on vacation is that it has the irresistable combination of lovely sand beaches, great birding marshes and preserves, and some wonderful food.  And it is not crowded during the winter months, which for Mr. ReddHedd, is a huge plus.  (He's not much for waiting in lines or traffic, I'm afraid.)

When life gets hectic, or I am dealing with news that is troubling or infuriating, I take a deep breath and try to remember that feeling that I get, walking along the water's edge and remembering what a tiny little speck I am in the greater world around me.  For some reason, it is comforting to think of the greater sweep of time and space, and my very small place in it when life starts throwing knuckle balls my way. 

Writing this, I'm reminded of The Galaxy Song by Eric Idle.  For some reason, it's oddly comforting…and wickedly funny.  Kind of makes you feel insignificant, doesn't it?

One of the other things that I do when I'm feeling stressed is to watch old movies that make me laugh.  Like Monty Python pretty much anything.  Or kick ass teevee, like Alias.  (What?  You don't like Alias?  But…but…Jennifer Garner is from West Virginia and she is wonderful on that show…and Marshall rocks as the best nerd ever on teevee.  What about Buffy?  You have to like Buffy.  Yeah, okay, my fangirl side is showing, and your point is?)

All this to say, it has been one of those weeks where I find myself reaching for comfort.  A cup of tea.  My iPod full of my favorite tunes.  My memories of vacation.  The Peanut, for a tickle and a good, long laugh and that beautiful smile of hers.  A deeply satisfying hug from Mr. ReddHedd.

I thought we could all, perhaps, use a bit of comfort this morning.  What is it that you reach for — or do — or listen to — or watch — or…well, what's your comfort zone?  Let's talk about destressing, because frankly it's been that kind of week this week, hasn't it?  Pull up a chair…

(And a hat tip to reader Richmond, whose comment last night led me to pull up this particular chair this morning.  Thanks.)

UPDATE:  I wanted to pull this up from the comments, just so folks wouldn't miss an update on Jane from me:

Thanks, all. I spoke to Jane last night on the phone — she and I were laughing about some things that had happened, and her whole “Dick Cheney sweating” mantra while she was on the morphine drip. hehehehe Strip away Jane’s Id, and all she wants is to watch Shooter sweat on the stand. That is just SO Jane, isn’t it? *g*

She sends her love to everyone. I spoke to her very briefly earlier than that — she made one of the friends with her dial my number so she could tell me she loved me while she was up walking around the ICU. That’s my Jane, multi-tasking already, just 12 hours out of surgery.