if you read yesterday's book review, you might be wondering why i find all those books so interesting. well, for starters, they're well written. but more than that, i think it tells you a little about how much the ocean means to me. yeah, yeah, that sounds kinda schmaltzy. let me explain.
i grew up near or on the ocean for most of my life. when we didn't live near the ocean, we at least spent part of every summer down on the Cape, near my grandparents, going to the beach each and every day. and as a six year old, i found the beach to be an endless source of amusement and entertainment. when the tide was low, there were fiddler crabs to chase, clams to dig for, shallow warm bathtubs of water to splash in, and sandbars to build your castles on. when the tide came in, you could dare yourself to stand up to the big waves crashing in (hey, size is all relative!), or maybe cajole dad into letting you hang onto his shoulders while he gave you a piggy back swim ride. if it was sunny, you could curl up under the umbrella with gram or race around in the sun until mom made you stop for juice. if it turned out cloudy, you could still collect shells and see if you could skip stones further than your brother. dad still holds the record for 15 skips with one stone.
then we moved to the Cape after the Blizzard of '78. (no, i won't do the math for you. none of your business how old i was, or am. *g*) and we were pretty much living on the ocean. the marsh was right across the street, and the beach was a short walk down the next street over. the foghorn was a constant companion at night, and a soothing presence. the sunsets over the marsh were beautiful, and walking down the beach at all hours of the day became a right, not a luxury. there were a lot of beaches we hung out at, and one we used to bike to down the sandy access road behind the dunes in order to get to the country store and buy penny candy, but the beach at the end of Foster is still the best, because it was ours.
i miss the beaches a lot; it's easy to forget, living in Boston, that you are living right on the water until one of those cloudy stormy days washes the salt air into town. there are some wonderful things about oceanfront commerce; seeing all kinds of ships come in and out of the harbor, particularly during Tall Ships, can be a breathtaking sight. but it just isn't the same as a beach. and don't tell me quincy or revere counts. they don't.
every so often, you can get out of the city and have a perfect day. we went up to wingaersheek beach a few summers ago, and got a great spot near the water. i even treated myself to a lobster roll for lunch. the best part, tho, was low tide. from the beach, you can see the lighthouse on the other side of the harbor channel. it's probably 1/4 to 1/3 mile away. at low tide, you can walk along a crescent of sand bars nearly all the way out to the light house, close enough that you feel you could reach out and touch it. the rip coming thru the channel keeps you from actually reaching it, of course. but it was a beautiful walk, and a lovely day, one that i'll carefully tuck away to save for later.