People tend to love one of three places the most. The city, the country or the beach. For me, it is most definitely the beach.
Yesterday I was in a crappy mood. I was grumpy and restless and wasn't really sure why; so I grabbed my iPod, put on some shoes and headed down to the beach for a nice long walk. By the time I got home around 40 minutes later, I was happy and settled again.
As I was walking, I noticed just how much more the beach is than just sand and water. The water is like a living, breathing organism with constantly changing heart-beats. Sometimes it is a slow, calm beat - small waves rolling onto the shore and teasing the sand as they slowly retract back to where they belong. Sometimes it is a slightly faster, more irate beat - bigger waves slapping at the coast with every break, white foam left bubbling in their wake until they too, disappear as the ocean takes another deep breath and pulls them back to their source. And then there are the times when it is a frantic, angry beat. Large waves pounding at the shoreline, foaming furiously and tossing seaweed, wood and shells onto the shoreline for excited children to find later. The mood of the ocean is always different, yet it is also always beautiful.
The air is salty but fresh and always makes me feel revitalised - just a few deep breaths of it and I am instantly calmer. I haven't always lived near the beach, but I have always loved to go. In the summer when it is brutally hot, there is nothing like jumping into the almost-always frigid water that generally epitomises Tasmanian beaches. Rubbing in sunscreen when there is sand all over my body so it scratches and burns, but is nothing compared the wrath of getting sun burn as a red-head. The exhilarating feeling of watching for waves and attempting to time a jump perfectly so that the water surges and pushes me to the shallows. Even in winter, the beach is beautiful. Sure, it can be bitterly cold, but the water still looks dazzling and although the sand often turns from soft yellow to hardened grey, there is almost nothing more relaxing and at the same time invigorating as watching a brooding sea in the grips of winter's chilly hand.
Normally I am a very light sleeper - the slightest noise or light can assure that I get barely any sleep, however since moving to a house where the only thing separating me from the beach is a road, I find the sound of waves calming and even sleep-enticing.
Everybody always seems to be more free at the beach. Dogs run around elatedly, children squeal with terrified delight, attempting to dodge the encroaching water as the sea exhales, while people of all ages search for that perfect spot to set up for the day and others simply walk or run past to get their fix of exercise and refreshing beach-air. I think one of the reasons that I love the beach so much is the fact that it truly is a place for everybody. It is all at once an intensely personal place for individuals that is open for public use. It is such a comforting thought that there is always a place to go that feels so much at home to me it is like my own personal back yard that I just happen to have to share with everyone else. But even more than that, I love the knowledge that most people that I see there, feel the exact the same way.