Friday, July 22, 2011

the beach (lyn)

Wild Harbor Beach, though beautiful, is small.  And each year it seems to grow smaller.  Either the beach is eroding, or more people are coming.  It's probably a combination of the two.  

In the late 70's, when my parents first moved here, going to the beach was a simple process.  Pack up the golf cart and go.  Not anymore.  Now, people get to the beach early to stake out their locations.  Empty chairs in big circles dot the beach by ten o'clock.  If you want a good spot, you need to arrive early, set up, and then you can leave and come back later.  

You don't want to sit too close to the entrance, because then there's too much foot traffic.  But sitting too far down the beach, where it's less crowded, is difficult if you are carrying a lot of gear.  So somewhere in the middle is ideal.

Then there are certain people you don't want to sit near.  The loud ones, the multi-kid families, the occasional smokers, the phone-talkers, or the eight-month-pregnant-looking obnoxious guy who brings his radio so he can listen to every Red Sox game.

And of course you need to know if the tide is coming in or going out.  If the tide is going out, you can position yourself close to the water.  But if it's coming in, you need to figure out where the water line is, and sit there.  If you are too far back, you run the risk of someone plopping down in front of you and losing your front row seat.  You definitely don't want that to happen.

So today, I arrive at the beach around noon, before the rest of my family who prefer to come around two.  It's sunny, hot, and I am late.  I've packed my usual lunch:  a half sandwich from Dean's, ice tea, 15 Pringle Lights, and some fruit.  I have my new float.  A new book (Faithful Place by Tana French).  And I am wearing a stand-out white, one-piece suit.  No one noticed when I wore this same suit three years ago.  But today I wear it and people comment.

I have a small altercation with a bikini-clad woman who has marked off  half the beach for guests of hers who "may come later."  They never do.  I see old friends and we catch up on our winters.  I go in the water and drift across the beach in my new float.  My lunch (aside from the bread) is healthy and delicious.    My sister Jean comes down and we sit around talking like the good friends we are.

A nice breeze masks the 100 degree heat.  It's a perfect day at little Wild Harbor Beach.. 

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