I don’t know about you, but I associate the beach with tranquillity and contentment. I could sit for hours beside the water and just … think.
The air is so fresh; the sand, usually, warm beneath your feet, and, if you’re lucky, you can find complete and utter solitude.
One of my earliest memories of the beach, occurred on a day trips to the beach. I was invited to go with my best friend, at the time, and her parents. To get to the beach, we had to travel close to an hour, so I always jumped at the opportunity.
On one occasion, my friend and I came up with a genius alternative to the clichéd sand castle—a sand bath. SAND BATH?! You say. Yes, sand bath. Basically, what the building of a sand bath involves is digging a hole in the sand as big as a bath you would find in your bathroom close enough to the water’s edge that once you have finished digging, it fills itself. It sounds simple, but there was quite a lot of engineering and designing involved—we painstakingly shaped and carved the bath so it was as comfortable as we could possibly make it. We included arm rests and head rests—the whole package.
On another occasion, the day ended somewhat more painfully. We had a great day; we swam, we ate fish and chips and we made any number of sand creations. We went home all smiles and enthusiasm. The problem came when we went to get into our pyjamas that night. My poor friend could barely move due to extremely bad sunburn on her back. It was so bad that she couldn’t lift her arms over her head, or even twist her torso. Her mum had to help her change, and even then, they couldn’t get a pyjama shirt on her because even the gentle touch of a top hurt her too much. My friend spent the night lying on her stomach without any covers over her, and her mum came in every hour or so to spray her with aloe vera.
I can’t remember how, but I came out of that day relatively unscathed, yet my friend resembled roast pork—tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside. I still get the heebies thinking about it.
You’d think that after witnessing an experience like that, I would be like a vampire on a summer’s day, or I would be like that kid who got covered in peanut butter when I put sunscreen on … yeah … nah. I can’t stand sunscreen. Awful thing to say; bad for me, I know. But I cannot stand it. I have none in my house, and I don’t plan on getting some any time soon.
Despite this horrific story, I have actually had some of my best memories originate at the beach. I spent a large portion of my teenage summers camping near the beach with my mum and some family friends. My friends and I would spend our evenings strolling the beach. During these strolls, we became loud, boisterous, and audacious—three things that I most definitely am not.
Even I am surprised that I once was so loud, boisterous and audacious, that I got wolf whistled for dancing the Time Warp on the beach with my friends at sunset … completely sober, I might add.
One, comparatively, subdued evening, my friends and I had one of the most magical beach experiences you could, quite possibly, ever have. Whilst we were walking and talking and generally making fools of ourselves, I suddenly realised that there were small glowing particles in the sand. Each step, with the pressure on the sand, made these particles appear, and the absence of weight made them disappear again. I was like a cat discovering the presence of a laser. I immediately bent down and tried to pick one up … a disaster from start to finish.
A couple came across us, captivated like five year olds, a while later and told us that these particle were actually a strain of algae that very rarely shows itself. Honestly, it was like seeing a footpath inlaid with pixie dust. It was absolutely phenomenal, and something I will never forget.
I make a habit of going to the beach when I am anxious, stressed or depressed. I feel a little bit stronger beside the water. There’s something about the repetition of water meets sand that calms my nerves and clears my head. It’s not uncommon for you to find me at the beach reading or even just sitting overlooking the water. It’s my own, very large, kingdom—a place where all my troubles go to die.
Do you have a place that has the same effect on you? If not, I really encourage you to find one. If you can’t, I give you permission to use mine, but only if you share my love for the beach. 😉 x
My watch says 6am. 6am?
Why am I up this early?
The sun is already warming the air, promising a classic day of Australian summer. I’m not really sure how I came to the decision to come down here. It was kind of like breathing—before I knew it, I had done it.
As soon as I begin descending the stairs to the sand, the wind coasting off the water surface hits me. It’s laced with brine, and smells like freshness. I breathe deeply and continue down ‘til my feet are enveloped by the fine, dry sand.
Pausing at the foot of the stairs, I look out over the water gently creeping onto land. The waves are thrashing a little way out from shore, and petering to ripples as it nears the sand.
With the next gust of wind, the troubles that made me wake are eradicated from my mind.
‘Morning!’ a jogger shouts as he passes.
‘Morning,’ I reply and begin strolling in the opposite direction.
‘Today,’ I mutter to myself, ‘Is going to be a good day.’