Living a walkable distance from the coastline has its disadvantages. 1) The sand. Which as everyone knows, gets all over creation and into places it does not belong. 2) The guilt. For not going to the beach every day and staring at the water and contemplating existence and willfully relaxing and all the other things we’re supposed to be doing there.
But kids, who rarely have guilt, only desire, make up for all my beach anxiety. Whenever I go and don’t really know what to do with myself (which is every time), I just stare at them while they do their thing. Picking up gross stuff, stacking stones, throwing everything they can lift into the water, lolling about in the sand, lolling about in general, actually. It’s a revelation. I don’t want to return to childhood — no one in their right mind would ever wish for such a thing — but occasionally I would like to interact with the world the way they do. Be nowhere but at the beach when I am at the beach. But until I reach that state (never) watching them be at the beach while they’re at the beach will have to do. And just so you know, I do occasionally throw a rock in the water, just to hear it splash. And then I go home to chase sand.