I’m more introspective and prefer my head in a book over watching “real” people.
Except…at the beach.
I love watching people at the beach because they exude pure joy, a release. I can tell they're behaving differently at the edge of the shore than they do in their lives back home -- in their busy lives of work and stresses and should’s.
This past summer, I smiled at a man my age running the beach. I could tell he wasn’t a runner, but the air swirling from the ocean made him just feel like doing it. So he was!
I watched a woman my age struggle into a wet suit (must have been a tourist to need it in the summer in Maine) and body surf….for nearly an hour. She and her husband jumped in the waves and held hands, like kids.
People of all ages paddle boarded – standing, kneeling, expertly, or for the first time.
There was a sweet little girl wearing a MAINE sweatshirt and sporting a dirty-blond bob with bangs meandering along with her family, lost in her own thoughts, squishing her tiny toes down into the sand from time to time.
Kids threw baseballs with their dads, Frisbees, bocci balls. There was sand castle and moat building, digging, and lots of brightly colored plastic pails and sand toys strewn everywhere.
Two teen-aged boys, brothers maybe, “played” in the waves forever. They wore goggles and deep dived, jumped on each other, swam laps.
A mom wore a navy blue “Gilligan” hat as she searched for sea glass with her little boy who wore a neon orange long sleeve swim shirt. I wondered if that shirt was for the cold water or the sun. I really didn’t know; they’ve come on the market since my own kids have grown up.
Couples walked the length of the beach and I can bet they never walk their neighborhoods. The view of Prout’s Neck from Scarborough Beach is one of my favorite sights; I think many feel the same way as me.
Hair is touseled, there is no make-up, they wear what works not necessarily the latest styles, they bare their skin no matter their size. Bathing suit straps fall down unknowingly, tattoos are abundant as are straw hats, hands clasp portable and paper coffee cups, and thankfully, books!
The seagulls tiptoe on alert awaiting Amato’s bags or Lays potato chips.
The vitamin D from the sun is surely waking people of all ages up, calming them down. The beach is such a marvelous place, a release. It reminds us of all that is good in our world. We can breathe there.
I love the beach…and watching people there. And I am reminded…..