My favorite summer retreat, a familiar beach. Some days I go with carloads of friends, other days I go all alone. Itís always full of people, full of faces. Little children making lopsided castles and leaving bite-size footprints in the honey-colored sand. Teenagers smelling of tanning oil, with radios blasting. Adults in boring, colorless bathing suits, flipping through magazines or shouting safety instructions to children lost in the glory of a sun-filled day. Elderly people sitting under obnoxiously brightly umbrellas with layers of creamy zinc oxide smeared over their faces. What truly captivates me is watching tiny children, taking slow, small steps into the ocean. Parents guiding them, holding their hands high above their heads. You can tell by the look on their faces that these kids want nothing more than to be freed from their parentsí protective grip. Free to taste the salty water, free to touch the grainy sand in their now imprisoned fingers. Free to splash in the water thatís been calling them all day. Calling with its alluring foamy waves and crystal blue ripples that shyly rush onto the shore. Rushing forward but for only an instant before recoiling back into the ocean. Free to experience all the seemingly endless body of water has to offer.
Itís strange, despite all these intriguing things, when youíre lying there on a plush, terry cloth towel, toes to knees covered in sand, basking in the glorious, golden sunlight all of those people, all of those faces seem to fade into the distance. All thatís left on the beach is you, a bottle of sun block and the smell of summer floating in the air. Lying there, engulfed in the Ďfreshly baked cookieí warmth of the sun, falling into such a daze in unavoidable. The repetitive hissing sound of waves colliding with the shore is mesmerizing. Lost in paradise. Total bliss. Iíve found that the only passage out of this perfection is when your skin has had enough, and the heat of the glowing sun becomes unbearable. Your skin is tired; tired of taking on color and tired of the rays beating now harshly down upon it. This feeling of thirst your skin emits brings you back to reality. Back to all the people, all the faces. Get up and run to the cool, refreshing water. Next come back to your towel and lay down and start again. Repeat as needed.