The girl who loved beaches
I met a girl once who loved visiting beaches. She rejoiced in finding a quaint little spot to sit in solitude by the shore, grab a handful of sand and watch it let loose as the water took it away. She once took me with her, and I was amazed at what I saw then.
No matter how much she tried to not let go of the sand, it didn’t stay. The harder she held onto it, the quicker she lost it. Every time she went to a beach, she did the same. She would see the flowing water take the sand away from her hands into its world, its movement giving life to whatever it touched, setting free from every single orifice. She could feel it leaving her and it struck something strong inside her.
The first time she did that, the realization was such…
Her life flashed in front of her eyes, the reflection almost blinding her. She told me, “It is strange how water can make you feel”. Everything faded for a second.
She said, “Those tiny grains of sand reminded me of everything I lost because it wasn’t mine to keep, and the shore my world yet to be explored fully. We can only enjoy those spots but not think that they belong to us. They never did. And it was our mistake to think they did. That is why we feel sad when good times pass. It was but a phase meant to pass, not to stay. And water, you ask? It reminded me of time – always a sight when in motion, smelly when static. And what’s water if its stagnant? Just a reservoir. But what for? You can’t contain time, can you? Stagnant water turns home for all things bad – there’s algae, there’s mosquitoes, it stinks. When we wish for time to stop, that’s when we’re unknowingly inviting some bad diseases our way, trust me.”
After a pause, she said, “Have you wondered why we make sandcastles by the beach even when we know the water will wash them away? Because we know that’s water, that’s time. It won’t stop for our castles or our dreams. It can be cruel… sometimes.”
Sensing the worry in my expression, she said, “But you know what? That said, beaches give us hope. They remind us that there’s plenty of sand, plenty of water, ample possibilities. Also, they scream of our minuteness in this vast mysterious universe. We do not realize it otherwise. It’s almost unreal. You see that there’s abundant water and beautiful sunshine just bouncing off it in its own dance. The refreshing sea breeze tickles you as it takes away your worries with ease. Listening to the sound of waves hitting the shore like a live symphony. The sky-canvas painted in hues of joy and melancholy. You can’t see where the coastline meets the horizon. You can go on and on in search of meaning, in search of purpose or just for a walk, and when you find it, when you find your spot, you stop. That, pretty much, is life.”
She called this process ‘The Beach Exploration’. You can give it a try too.
Tips from her: It takes time to figure out where to start but start anyway. Maybe start with the spot that attracts you. You don’t know what it is that’s attracting you, but you go ahead. Sit there for some time, talk to people if there are any, think if it makes you happy, think if it makes you feel belonged and loved. If it does, great. If not, move on, find another one. That’s the best thing about beaches – endless space, endless opportunities. The key is to not stop for less, not settle for the unconvincing. The process will take time, yes. Can take months, years. In fact, there is no end to it. You’ll find multiple spots that you’ll love and some that you’ll hate. If you do decide to stop at a single spot, make sure you find the spot exciting and you could see yourself in that spot for the rest of your life. I know that’s huge. Oh, and do not forget to have fun. Run, splash some water, make a hundred castles, click pictures, feel at home. If you do not find that one spot, don’t worry! Multiple passions call for multiple homes, don’t they?
Saying this, she ran away. I called out to her, “Hey, stop. Wait for me.” She said, “I don’t have time. You don’t have time either. Carry on, explore. You don’t need me.”
I’m still in touch with her. She still loves how beaches make her feel. Both vulnerable and powerful at the same time. I think I’m falling for it too.
Makes me recall a piece of poetry I read in school – Footprints In The Sand written by Mary Stevenson in 1936.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.[Source: ryanhart.org]
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
If, on a bright sunny day, you feel like there’s no way out, go to a beach and relax. It, really, is strange how water can make you feel.
Don’t forget to put some sunscreen on!
Featured Image Credits: Priyam Jain
Readers' Reviews (1 reply)
You can go on and on in search of meaning, in search of purpose or just for a walk, and when you find it, when you find your spot, you stop. That, pretty much, is life.
this part hit home.
this is a wonderful piece.