Here are some lovely thoughts about the beach from a little book I have called How to Live at the Beach by Sandy Gingras:

Beach_2005_054At the beach, life is different.  A day moves not from hour to hour but leaps from mood to moment.  We go with the currents, plan around the tides, follow the sun.  We measure happiness by nothing we can hold…nothing we can catch.  Everywhere life is jumping and elusive and momentously momentary.

We want to elongate the day, distill the memories, make them last.  At the same time, we know that the beauty is in the evanescence.  Every wave comes in, then retreats.  Every day promises, then turns its back and slips away.  Every joy has a little tease in it, a give and a take, and leaves a wake of longing.

So we do the best thing we can do…open up the windows to our senses and let our hearts lead us back to the land of simplicity.  And if we allow these moments to stick to us like sand…our lives can become castles.

At the beach, treasure is what we find, not what we buy.  The beach is where we remember how to shine, how to peel ourselves down to essence and shed our shells, how to reduce speed.

Simplicity is an unbuttoning of what we’ve learned to wear as a self…a looser fit, a softer fabric.  It’s like a step we’ve forgotten how to dance, a native language we’ve forgotten how to speak in a rushy complex world.

Simplicity is a process.  It’s a kind of surrender.  It’s a forgetting of the rules we never liked much anyway, of the values that have no value, of the goals that never made much sense anyway.

And it’s a remembering…of how filling a day of nothing can be, of how magical quiet can be, how easy it is to be uplifted.

And so, little miracles appear in every crack in the schedule where the unexpected is allowed and the moment gets watered with attention.

The beach returns us to our childlike selves, frees us to be our most elemental, most beach-bummy selves.  We let sandy feet in…we plan on a little rust.  We make room for mistakes…we put stuffy in the yard sale.

The beach is not as much about slackness of mind (although there is some good in that) as it is about mindfulness to small and simple things.  The beach teaches us to redefine rush.  It teaches us the value of pause.  It sinks us into contentment.  It molds us into the shape of thankfulness.

And that slow, crooked seemingly aimless path of our lives at the beach may just be us getting closer and closer to our best selves.