The beach is my second favourite place to be. My favourite is in the water at the beach. I don’t know what I’ll do for fun when I’m an old lady and I can’t get to the beach anymore. Someone might have to wheel me down on summer afternoons so I can dangle my legs in the water, feel the warm breeze and get a nose full of the smell of summer. (Drying seaweed, warm breeze and the faint smell of rotting fish.)
I grew up on the beach, making sandcastles and playing mermaid games in the waves. It is part of who I am. I may even be a bit of a beach snob. That is to say, I don’t have a clue why people spend thousands of dollars a year maintaining a pool when they could be at the beach. Of course, an indoor pool that could be used all winter would be an exception to that but the rest is a mystery to me.
I am so blessed this summer to be able to spend so much time at the beach. I’ve managed to get some tan for the first time in years and the cool water and the little bit of exercise I get in it almost every day are my great escape. It is the one place on the planet I feel free of my cares.
When my kids were little we spent many of our summer afternoons at the beach. I worked at night so I could be with them in the daytime but it left me tired. We would get through the chores to be done quickly, have a simple lunch and then head to the beach with water bottles and snacks of fruit, cheese and crackers.
It was a relaxing time. I would enjoy a good book and watching their lovely little forms playing in the water and around rocks and sand. With the support of a nearby mom, I might even be able to sneak in a short nap. We would stay as long as we dared before supper needed to be made. Those are times which are etched in my heart as some of the very best.
I’m always amazed how, even when the beach is busy with boats and people, it is a place where you can feel solitude. Someone I know might stop for a short chat. A stranger may ask a question about some local attraction. Boats come and go. Now paddleboards and kayaks pass along the shore. In the early afternoon, the fishing tugs cause a stir in the water with their wake as they return to port and the sound of their heavy engines and horns cuts the air as they pass the pier. Power boats, too expensive to travel far in, line up along the shore and party for the afternoon.
These days life at the beach a much quieter time. There are no small voices demanding my attention to their water antics though I often hear them in my mind. The only interruption to my book is a glance toward someone else’s children making memories in the sand.