Why are people drawn to the edge of the sea? It’s not a frivolous question.
Spending the heart of the winter at a rented condo on the beach, I have observed the ocean lure people of all ages to her shore. There seems to be something magical, magnetic to where frothy waters lap at sandy beaches.
People young and old seek that seemingly sacred spot that wavers with every collapsing wave. Even the shorebirds covet that undulating, elusive line in the sand.
The tiny and swift sanderlings poke and prod the moist sand for nutritious crustaceans on the shore’s surface or just below. They always scurry ahead of the washing water as if they are afraid of getting their feet wet.
The larger willets saunter along probing for the same bounty with their sturdy black bills. They, too, avoid the ebb and flow as if their lives depended on it. Perhaps they do, instinctively knowing the consequences of being swept away.
Humans of all ages, however, take a wide variety of approaches while at the shore. Throwing caution to the sea breezes, children rush squealing to the water’s edge. Whether in street clothes or swimsuits, the youngsters wade right in, much to the horrors of their adult overseers.
Are they lulled by the rhythmical sound of the waves? Does the foamy surf beckon them to come to see the sea? Do they thrill at the sensation of surviving the rushing, rolling water?
I suspect all of that and more. Unlike most parents, the children have no fear of undertows or rip currents. The adults quickly catch up and take charge, even at the expense of getting their own feet wet, shoes, or no shoes.
Teens, of course, don’t care. They, too, wade or rush or plunge right in, regardless of attire, or the water’s temperature. In February, it may match the chilly air temperatures, made cooler still by the persistent winds.
The adults also are intrigued by the sea, each in their own way. Some jog while others walk along the water’s edge for exercise and fresh air.
Conversely, the snowbirds take their time. They have earned it, after all. They relish being away from the cold and snow up north. Retirees prefer to traverse the firm, moist sand closest to the water for its support.
Many walk with their heads bent forward, searching for colorful shells or sharks teeth. A few long for treasures of a different sort. They sweep the sand with metal detectors seeking what others have lost.
Some beachcombers spend many minutes inspecting one spot before they slowly move on. Others are content to stroll more for the exercise than the shells. All, however, are careful to mind the lapping sea, especially if the tide is coming in.
Other beach walkers have another purpose in mind. Their canine pets demand to be taken on their necessary jaunts. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds head to the shoreline.
A few folks are content to simply sit and enjoy all their senses in one spot. They watch, read, sleep, or chat with companions for hours.
Hardy souls ply their skills at fishing. I think the dolphins, ospreys, and terns are more successful.
Like all the others, I also answer the sea’s siren call. I join them in their multi-faceted love affair with the seaside.
At dawn, I let my camera document all the unfolding radiance. Nothing beats a dazzling sunrise, except sharing it with others.
Why are people drawn to the seashore? For all the right reasons.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2020
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