Jul 25th, 2003

What the Beach Means to Me

I wrote the following as a comment on The Tart Speaks' site. But maybe it bears repeating. Sheila was talking about the beach and in passing said something like if you don't get the beach, skip this part.

Well boy howdee, I get the beach. I spent major chunks of my life, sitting on it staring out into the distance wishing I were elsewhere. I spent other major chunks listening to Jimmy Buffett, an artist who definitely gets the beach.

I understand the beach. I grew up on the coast. When you face the ocean the world you know is behind you and the rest of the world (that is to say, infinite possibility) lies before you. I would stare at the Atlantic and think about what was across the water. I imagined Paris, but it was really the Ivory Coast. Does it matter? Periodically flotsam would wash up to toy with me. A champagne cork overgrown with barnacles. A glass globe from a fishing net. A wine bottle from Portugal. A piece of lava from some unknown and unseen underwater volcano. Fragile purple mollusks that only appeared after a hurricane, brought from some great depth or distance.

And you, gentle reader, do you understand what draws us to the shore?