Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Shore Thing

I am a beach lover descended from a long and multipronged line of beach lovers; both sets of my grandparents loved the seashore; my parents vacation there; my husband loves the coast. So my children were given a high likelihood of being beach-y-keen. Unlike most things they have to share (a birthday cake, a room, adult attention, etc.) they did not have to divide contents of this gene – they have enough, that I’d wager, its available in concentrate.

It should come as no surprise that we all are buried up to our necks in sand this time of year - and are blissfully visiting friends, family and all of rabbit’s relations in Ogunquit, Maine. 

Having only made brief day trips to the ocean since they were born, its part anthropological experiment to watch day in and out, tide in and out, their unmitigated shoreline access.

So far we’ve been reminded that Sophia is an artists through and through – the beach gives her the excuse of having a limitless (and self-cleaning) canvas. Indeed, she is up to the task of answering the artistic call by creating from sunup to down. Henry finds the challenge of such a vast construction site quite compelling. I’ve read their copy of National Geographic’s Sand so many times that I can easily win a trivia contest on where each color of sand originates.

They also play this infectious game – Tony traces their shadows in the sand using the side of a shell with the sun (it doesn’t matter the time of day) and their shape, they figure out why and how it looks this way. Occasionally, we add the smile.

Does it look familiar? I was thinking of the Edvard Munch painting(s) The Scream. I find it quite inspiring.

I’m not going to lie and tell you I like the beach at such-and-such a time. I like it all the time. In the middle of the day; at high tide when people are scrambling to move their chairs and umbrellas to dryer ground; early in the morning when everyone is overturning a rock or a thousand in a tide pool; in the evening when the more sun-sensitive excitedly tuck in with a blanket and hot fish dinner in a to-go container that’s so hot and sinful that the whole beach smells like fried food. We happened to take these shots in the late afternoon – when Sophia’s canvas was just right, the light forgiving, and the angst-provoking but essential sunscreen was stored in the beach bag for another day.

And we found ourselves echoing the phrase slipped underneath many hotel and short-term residences this time of the year:

Happily filled.