I’m perhaps more of a forest and mountain walker, but there’s surely something to beach walks. Through the years, I’ve done quite a lot of beach hikes, all sorts of actually, and I’ve almost always enjoyed them very much.
The wideness of the sea or ocean, its apparent infinity, the horizon that promises much more beyond, a rising or setting sun, a blue and cloudless sky or one filled with restless cloud play, well, they give this feeling of space, freedom, movement and stillness at the same time, but perhaps even more a sense of great adventure awaiting and indecipherable mystery.
But one beach is not the other. Some are set in tropical spheres, other in rather arctic environments, or even neighboring a desert. I do love a cold autumn wind, one that blows your brains out, refreshing the mind as it were, but I also do enjoy the tropical beach, warm, romantically lined with coconut trees, with some rocky protrusions or a tropical forest, and accompanied by a frequent dip into pleasantly heated waters.
The beach is also the deliverer of shells, lost goods, the famous bottle with a message, smoothly polished rocks, strange little creatures crawling about, and birds that hop around picking for food. Sandy beaches, muddy beaches, rocky, windy, and stormy beaches, small and big waves, wide and narrow beaches, with appearances forever changing by the continual tidal currents of ebb and flood.
The colors of the sand, sparkling glitter of tiny diamonds, the blue, purple, black, and grey little stones, many-hued shells, leaves, branches, and smelly seaweeds, water and waves in greens, whites, browns and blues, a multicolored world of endless forms, a staggering variety of boundless creation.
A blink at the sea might show you dolphins, penguins, or whales — or nearer, there just below the surface — corals and reefs, colorful fish, perhaps even a lost city or sunken ship. Just walking about, and feeling the sand and pebbles under your feet, the strain of getting on in mellow and mushy sand, the salty air, the rhythmical sound of waves, this strange, peaceful tiredness that sets into your body and mind.
I love a beach that gives access to nearby hills or mountains, one that allows for a higher viewpoint, a different and wider view of the sea and its horizon, its form and shape, some distance and silence away from the noisy waves, and an opportunity for a quiet little snack, maybe a short nap, or a moment of meditative contemplation.
I love a lonely beach, just me and it together, one pure and clean without plastics littering it, or city gutters ejecting their filthy fluids into the pristine sea. One that’s natural, nature made, one that gives shelter and life to beach plants and animals, one that welcomes me shyly and allows me to take a respectful peak.
Maybe it’s the salt, the breaking waves, the constant rhythm and flow, its floating and open mystery that reminds me of my early, secluded life in my mother’s belly. One that involved a promise, life’s solemn pledge of living it in vibrant harmony, but outside, there with Mother Earth. A life that turned out to be completely illegible, obscure, forever unknown, yet unquestionably me and mine.