Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Pic by L. Pendleton
The sign of a really fantastic beach day is that feeling that you have of extreme blissful exhaustion. Your hair is a little salty and rough, your skin is still gritty from the warm sand, and your mind is still filled with the roar of the sea rolling in to shore. It is a feeling that can't really be matched.

I grew up by the sea, and I know that has been a blessing to me. As a child I spent so many hours on the sand and in the salty sea that I might have sprouted gills if that were possible. When I moved "inland," and I say that loosely as I was only about four hours from seaside, I missed the ocean so much that I made myself a beach in a jar to take with me to university. The jar was filled with pinkish sand, shells of all shapes and bits of rock and sea glass that I picked up on the shores of my Island home.

I found it weird to swim in a lake. There were tadpoles (ewww) and we scoffed at the little bit of sand they had trucked in to make a miniscule beach. And then there was the lack of buoyancy. Salt water is of course a great help to swimmers, helping keep us afloat, and I imagined that the freshwater just turned me into a sinking stone.

My partner grew up surrounded by mountains and lakes and huge tracts of wild country populated by bears and cougars and moose and other big wild stuff that certainly did not exist on my little Island. He can take or leave the ocean. Can you imagine??

Anyhow, the beach is the greatest of free summer activities for families, one that can work for all ages.

Beach to-do list for babies

That pretty much sums up what they like to do on the beach. Also works for adults without small children to watch. 


Stuff for other people to do

  • Eat. You must bring at least 5 snacks for each person, or one per person per half-hour of time spent, because the beach always makes me everyone hungry.
  • Build sandcastles. Buckets, yogurt containers, shovels, whatever, you must bring. But if you are a beach tenderfoot and you don't HAVE these things, a nice big quahog shell does the trick for digging moats, and you can use your hands to build big lumpy primitive castles.
  • Build snail farms. It's awesome.
  • Don't worry about the kids getting dirty, or personal hygiene. The same rules don't apply on the beach, and the dirtier they are, the more fun they have had.
  • Forget that you have a job. Or housework. Or bills. Or stress of any kind.
  • Just stare at the waves, and the horizon, and the gorgeous coastline stretching for miles. While also watching small children to be sure they don't wander off into the sea. 
  • Bring friends. Team up with others for maximum value. If you have children, the adults can take turns reading their juicy beach novel, or going for a swim in the deep water, while one adult keeps track of the little ones. Plus it is a chance to visit with other grownups.
  • Take a moment to just soak it in, the smell of the sea, the feel of the warm sand in your fingers, the heat of the sun, because unless you live in Hawaii (which we definitely DON'T) winter will come again and you will need this sensory memory.
 I figure if we all come home sandy, and grumpy, and tired, and hungry, and so relaxed, it has been a success. The ultimate mindful day where we can all be children for a while.



  1. Sounds great, Stephenie! Hope the rest of your vacation is wonderful. K

  2. Lovely post and nice look to the blog! Are you thinking about switching to blogspot? I never could figure out Wordpress.

  3. I agree 100%. We need to get together on one of your beach days. Hel