I love the beach.
I can sit on the sand for hours if left alone. I run my hands through the grains, feel the ocean break. I watch the gulls and sea eagles drift by.
Silence comes and goes in rhythm with the waves. The silence in my mind sometimes matches it. Thoughts swim by, in and then out of my field of view. At other times they will stick around while I turn them over and over like a seashell in my hands, running my fingers on every curlicue and ridge upon it.
I jump in the cool ocean. No matter the weather, save for a scary stormy sea, I’m in there in the morning. Sometimes I stand only knee deep after a quick soak. Sometimes I drift with the current in a clear turquoise sea, looking towards the headlands and the secrets they enclose, then seawards towards the rising sun. I squint from the salt and brightness, feeling the soothing bath of the elements relaxing and yet somehow energising me.
I look towards the house where my family is staying. We come here a couple of times a year in various seasons. My family is asleep still, rocked by the sound of the crashing surf.
We live the mountains a couple of hours away, but the beach is where I feel refreshed and reawakened. I bring problems to the ocean for solutions. The ocean brings perspective. In some primal amniotic way the ocean either integrates or flushes the problem, leaving it for the scavengers in the deep.
I want to buy a beach house. I want to have a place to bring my family whenever I want. I spend some time each day looking in the real estate windows, dreaming. My wife and I sit at the table with the ocean outside, and discuss the potential for buying, re-mortgaging, borrowing, finding an investor, buying and renting through Airbnb. We lounge on the deck with champagne and measure the costs, imagining how we can pay the rates, the electricity, the water. We muddle in the sand and dream our little dream of being at the beach with our family and each other, warm in each other’s embrace, cuddles on the couch and adventures by the sea. We imagine our boys catching puffer fish in the rock pools and fishing off the headland, cooking their prizes in butter and lemon, flour and salt.
I wake up and head to the beach. I feel the sand between my toes, grainy and cool. I walk straight into the water and she welcomes me, swirling between my legs, drawing me gently in to her cool enclosure while I take long breaths in and out, feeling the joy of my aliveness.
I look towards our house, where we stay each year. It’s a beautiful mansion to us. Our friends own it and we stay here for free, a week at a time. We pay no rates, no bills, no maintenance fees. We spend no time checking Airbnb to see if anyone is staying this week, if we can afford the mortgage. We have no stress over having two properties miles apart.
And in the oceans embrace, I finally see.
We have our perfect beach house.
We just don’t own it.