The Beach at the End of the Summer

Double Feathers

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.


Shell 2


8 thoughts on “The Beach at the End of the Summer

  1. Glad you made the ‘beach effort’, hope it was worth it. I spend many hours in the summer watching the grands in the pool here at our ‘beach’. I, too, act like a kid once in a while, ie: splash, play modified volleyball, or float around with ‘wings’. It’s not guilt I deal with afterwards, it’s pain in this old body. Love summer, though, not looking forward to closing the pool and putting all the yard furniture away later this week. Florida is starting to look pretty good…………

    • Thanks, Becky. You are my model for enjoying life as you cycle in and out of retirement…(work, play, work, play, work…but always end with play).

    • “Beach-awkwardness”…that is just exactly it. I almost invoked the midwestern thing when I was writing the post, but I feel like I am always playing the Ohio card… But you, my fellow midwesterner (Farmland, Indiana!!!), sussed out the issue immediately.

  2. Love this imagery, love these faces. Sand is just sand, but these days will stay with your kiddos forever. Lucky.

  3. For what it’s worth, when I am at the beach with our grown daughters, I still stare at them as they do their thing. And after all these years, that pleasure is still somehow greater than contemplating existence and all that stuff we’re supposed to do in the face of immense natural beauty. If I don’t experience sand where it doesn’t belong (and a slamming screen door) each summer, I haven’t fully experienced summer. I love this post and it speaks to me in a million pleasant ways.

    • Thank you, Ann. It’s very reassuring to know that watching your children enjoy themselves is a parent’s prerogative, no matter their age.

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