Beach Afternoon


She arranged her shells so beautifully today, as if anticipating all the admiring visitors that the warm weather would bring. A meter wide, pressed into the sand, they made a thousand rippled patterns as she washed in and out over them. Her generous treasures waiting to be inspected and marvelled at by those treading peacefully along her shore.

The water was glistening and glassy, I wanted to float with her and listen to her philosophies, shallow and deep. I wanted to float with her and submerge my face just deep enough to still feel the sun gently caressing my face. I wanted to float with her and share her view of the sun and all that danced in flight.

Nudged to the present by a child mistaking my leg for a tree, I paused my dreamy thoughts…

The older boys stripped down, they wanted to be like baby Ollie, naked! And free. Like little excitable puppies they bounded into the water, leaped and splashed, rolled and dived, dug and jumped….laughed!! All as though discovering this scene for the first time. Bounding. Glee. Over and over again.


Beach Afternoon-3

When the sun started to fall, their energy subsided a little but their spirits were full and spilling over. Taking advantage of the weather and upbeat moods, we settled in for an early dinner on the promenade. I didn’t bring jerseys or jackets or even a change of clothes. But no one cared. It didn’t matter. A damp towel covering their slight frames and a warm meal kept their auras a-sailing.

After the last teaspoon of chocolate milkshake had been loudly, and profoundly slurpppped, we made the journey up the hill. I sang twinkle twinkle little star the whole way home to distract and delight my little baby O. My singing is terrible. But. He loved it.

All in desperate need of a defrost, we scrambled out the car and headed for the bathroom. The hot water was low so we all bathed together – all five of us in our tiny little ball and claw bath. It was such a squeeze. The level rose up, almost overflowing and limbs peeped out like nosy hippos. And as we sat there soaking, the tub cradling our bodies and each of us trying to find an extra atom of space, it felt better than any other bath I had taken alone. No candles or bubble bath or solitude could have felt better than my whole family pressed together like peas in our cast iron bucket.

My husband and I looked at each other, as if mindfully acknowledging the craziness yet beauty before us. The fleeting spontaneity of the afternoon and the bittersweet joy in our hearts.

If ever you find your mind restless or your soul tired, step outside. Seek the ocean, a long forest path or even a shallow river. Walk there. Swim there. Be there. I don’t think there’s a problem in the world that can’t be remedied by nature’s powerful tonic. She commands calmness without commanding it and attention without asking for it. Welcome her and she will tend graciously to your needs.


Beach Afternoon-2


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