6 Hot Beach Tips

The Long Walk
Suzanne McDermnott


Stay out of it!

That's Tip #1.
It's summer now and, if you're lucky, you'll find your way to a beach for at least a couple of days. I hope that you do!

Tip #2
Watch this video if you plan to spend time by any body of water where people are swimming. Although I took Red Cross Lifesaving several times, I do not remember such a detailed description of what a drowning person looks like. Click here for more information on how to tell when a person is in trouble. Good to know!

Tip #3
Blue Lizard Australian SUNSCREEN SPF 30+ (Sport) is my new sunscreen discovery. Not only does it go on and stay on while out at the beach and under the water, the bottle turns blue (!) as soon as any UVA/UVB rays hit. I thought this was so cool, I stopped random people to show them!
Badger is also an awesome brand for the all organic crowd. Put it on in the morning. Play in the surf all day. It stays and stays.

Tip #4
Keep pure Aloe Vera on hand. It will soothe any sunburn or skin irritation and is a refreshing, light summer moisturizer (with anti-aging properties.) If you buy from a drug store, double check to make sure that the product is Aloe Vera and nothing but. Best idea is to keep a live Aloe Vera plant in the house or garden. Lily of the Desert gel is the best, purest, tried and true, commercial brand. Buy a bottle and put some in a travel tube.
Tip #5
Find a good page turner. I like short stories and found this anthology in a local book bin for a quarter: David Copperfield's Tales of the Impossible. Great stories, great writers.

Tip #6
Please pick up after yourself. If you're going to bring little bits of plastic or plastic bottles or stuff wrapped in little bits of plastic or stuff in little bags of plastic, please make sure that all that plastic and stuff leaves the beach with you or that you deposit it securely in a trash can. Otherwise some sea creature or feathered friend will mistake it for something good or it will join the islands of plastic out in the middle of our beautiful ocean. Or I'll be picking up after you. I can't help myself.
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
— Rachel Carson
The view from my Sunday morning summer spot: 

Click here for my favorite Summer beach song.

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The First Shell of Summer

Suzanne McDermott photo

Summer is here!

After decades of picking up shells
from beaches all over, I've pretty much given up the practice. I have enough!

But on this first morning of summer, this whelk presented itself in my walking path. It was meant to be a star!

Happy Summer Solstice!

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.

—E. E. Cummings, 1956


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Light all day, Light all night

from my personal collection
"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade." —Gertrude Jekyll
Sing a song of summer

Go outside this weekend!

If you're in the northern hemisphere, not only does the Summer Solstice fall on Friday, June 21, (1:04 AM EDT), the supermoon shines big and bright on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23.

So, we have the longest day with the biggest, closest, fullest moon this year, immediately on its tail.

I'd say it's a good weekend to play outside. Take a nap in the heat of the day if you can. You have the rest of the day and night to welcome in the new season.

How about singing a song of summer? Make one up. Sing it to the big moon.
"In earlier times, so many people sang much more. You know as a kid you'd go to some kind of religious training and or summer camp or whatever it was and you'd learn to sing a lot of songs."
— Michael Tilson Thomas
One more day

10% discount on my independent, short (but concentrated) drawing and watercolor course, Enter Here to Draw and Watercolor is good through tomorrow night. Click here to learn more.

Make this a starting point. Explore the basic elements then play around with drawing and watercolor pencils all summer long.
"In summer, the song sings itself."
—William Carlos Williams

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Creative Wake Up

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outlining 5 small actions to open your creative flow.
Bonus song download included!

How to Disturb Inertia

Force of will

Newton's first law of motion:
A body remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.
My external force over the past few days has been sheer force of will. I have not felt like doing anything, including writing this post.

Once in motion, I've enjoyed myself but it has not been easy to set myself in motion. Inertia has pinned me down.

This morning, dragging my heels at the start of my drawing workshop I thought, what is the matter with me? Where's my enthusiasm? I love doing this.

Sometimes it's a breeze to take action. Other times you just have to place one foot in front of another. One foot in front of another. Regardless of how you're feeling. You have to do the next right thing and the next right thing until momentum catches on.

No matter what you're working towards, the end of an assignment or the top of a mountain, love the actions that drive momentum. They'll get you from here to there.
"You must learn to love what you have to do."
—Queen Christina
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Ebb Tide Rules

To Weather
Suzanne McDermott

Living by the tide chart

Now that I live a five minute walk to the edge of the Atlantic, I keep a tide chart by the front door and use it daily to help plan my day.

I love feeling physically connected to the moon and the sun and the spin of the earth, to gravity.

High tide on the marsh is beautiful but ebb tide on the sea side is my favorite. There's plenty of room to walk a good distance and I can body surf without concern for hidden rocks near the groins. The sand is strewn with all sorts of surprises.

Low ebbs in life can be frightening. I can't say they're enjoyable but my life, which I love, would not be what it is without them.

While procrastinating writing this post, I watched a film on the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. Several survivors commented on the concentrated power of the water just before the tidal wave turned toward shore.

So it is with life. At extreme ebb tides when we think that all is lost, we're really just building strength and about to discover the power of our flow.

Action always turns the tide of our lives from ebb to flow.
"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress."
—Bruce Barton
New student, Lynnie Holland wrote to me late last week.

"I have read and reread your newsletters. I have been through your site, read your course descriptions, looked at your work and reviewed the testimonials. I am soooo close and want to do this in the worst way but still undecided about my lack of experience.

"I have no experience, I am retired, and have been trying to paint in one form or another, from time to time, for the last 40 years. Still haven't done anything that fabulous. Could lessons make a difference?"

This is an example of a particular type of chronic low ebb.

After thanking Lynn for writing, I replied,

I specialize in teaching people much like yourself, or in the predicament in which you describe yourself.

In short, the answer is Yes, lessons with me can make a difference.

  1. You cannot start anything WITH experience. You must learn the ropes and experience the practice. No one starts any endeavor with experience. Week in and week out, for 17 years I have been teaching absolute beginners. I am very good at this.
  2. You need encouragement and instruction, guidance and support for creating your foundation and for understanding your unique gifts.
  3. Most of my students are over 50.

Wouldn't it be terrible to let any more time go by before giving yourself a real chance at this? It's almost like private lessons but with a small group of others who are feeling the same way and will encourage and support you along with me. Your course mates are not required to (support and encourage you) but it always happens.

Lynn took action. She registered for my online course starting Thursday and already, her tide has turned. This morning, she wrote,

"I am so excited. Printed my notebook, watched the video and did my first set of exercises."

Grab the last seat (there might be room for two) and join us for a transformational experience. It's work but lots of fun, too.

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