We love the beach. I mean this collectively as a family, as a culture, as a species.
It is always special, magical and deeply restorative. I remember going on all those great holidays as a child often from way out in Western Queensland. We'd be sleeping all over the Holden station wagon, distributed across the front bench seat to the boot beside the basket with the baby/ies in it. Then the car would come over the last rise and the first call would break the restless boredom.
"I can see the sea!" Mine still say it. I make them. It is the first tick in the box of nostalgic balm.
There are other important elements in this perfect holiday.
They mooch and roll and bury each other and argue and laugh and throw sand and play footy on the same beach my cousins and siblings played on.
It used to take my Dad a good week to wind down till he could really relax. This one is the same. They can't garden, tinker, work, build or mow. They walk. They sleep. They cook. It is good.
The sea.We live in a part of the world that some old dears that you meet at posh functions call God's own country. The water is glassy clear and perfectly flat on one beach and waves on the other. There are fish and critters and birds. There was a python in a tree for the whole two weeks we were there. There are noisy gangs of rainbow lorikeets. One year there were dolphins out the front.
The childerbeasts go swimming in mid-winter and bask on the sand sheltered from the wind to dry off. They only do this with cousins to egg them on. Cousins are good that way.
Games.We play games that only the girls play at home. It may be the relaxed atmosphere or the different team members. The absence of laptops and internet may have something to do with it. Bananagram, Bingo and cards played on a sheet or blanket. The glass table got the gong from all involved as it was too cold and hard to snatch cards up from.
|Playing two pack cheaters' Hawaii|
Sand.We like to bury ourselves in it, get it in eyes and mouth and nostrils, make it squeak when we kick it and put in in our brothers' beds as not so hilarious prank. It is throughout the house and gets brushed off the feet at bed time and out of the sheets before you snuggle down to listen to the surf through the open windows.
Fishing.This gets bigger every year as do the fish. The big fella and the uncle indulge the fishing needs. We throw every thing back but we draw the line at kissing fish. They can go on their own now, untangle snags, bait up hooks. One boy fished from 7 am till 10.30 pm the last day over several locations. Boys are nice when they fish. There is no u tube on a fishing line.
Every thing is a picture. Every moment seems marvellous.
Even the rocks are photogenic.
Books.I got through three of them up there but didn't quite finish this one which I have read snippets from over the last nine years. It is the beach house book of choice. This time I tried to read it cover to cover. That's a good sea faring name if I ever saw one.
Sunset, moon rise, tide change, sunrise.These happen at home but we rarely see them. We are sleeping or ferrying people between orthodontists and soccer and last minute grocery runs. It's good to just sit and look at it and soak it up slowly.
They always taste better at the beach- on the beach. Always.
Lying down.I don't do this enough at home. I certainly don't lie down in the middle of a walk through the shops or into work or over to the neighbours. For some reason it is acceptable on the beach to just stop, sit and then lie down to doze off if you wish. I like that.
Rock pools.Abundant, treasure troves of goodies, they never disappoint. The big boys were still as entranced by dead wobbygongs, sluggy things spurting purple ink, starfish, urchins and crabs as they were the first time they found a dead inflated puffer fish- every day for a week. It was quite whiffy by the end.
They are happy, free, unburdened by homework and uniforms and getting up early. They run and roll and generally behave like joyful, exuberant kids are meant to.
No wonder it never gets old. Sorry this was a long one if anyone is even still out there. These are the days worth recording and savouring- like old forgotten questionable wine from your brother's kitchen cupboard. We relive our memories and they make new ones with us in blues and sandy yellows and it is always good.