The Beach: First Encounters

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Growing up in the Midwest I rarely had the opportunity to go the beach. My dad’s brother lived in Corpus Christi at some point and I remember being too chicken to walk along the shore given the hundreds of jellyfish that found their way inland, and when I visited my best friend while in college to her south Texas dorm on the gulf, it was in the middle of winter and we ventured out into the chilling sand at dusk just to see what it would be like. Similarly, a few Januarys later we found ourselves in Santa Monica, watching the sunset, bundled up in scarves and sweaters and our sandaled feet freezing quickly beneath the cool night air.

Essentially, until this past weekend, I had never been to an actual, real, coastline beach with the actual intention of going to “the beach.”

When I met up with my friend, I looked like quite the newb in my black shorts, leather sandals, big brown sunglasses and beige bath towel. “Where’s your swimsuit and sundress?” I was asked, my friend in shock. “I don’t own those things,” I said. Somewhere hidden in some drawer I knew I had a one-piece but it was obtained in high school and I’ve since grown exponentially since then. We stopped by a Duane Reade and picked up some snacks. Apparently my apple wouldn’t suffice for the three plus hours we would be spending on the Brooklyn shoreline.

It took a twenty minute train ride to get there and I was immediately hit with the cool and salty breezes that swept off the Atlantic. We settled in a bare patch of sand, front row to the ocean views. My friend, an expert on Sunday afternoon beach life, immediately went into tanning positions and I took out my notebook, trying to jot down everything that I saw.

Bikini clad tween girls practiced twerking in the water while a grey haired Italian grandpa played with his grandchild, the waves licking at their bare feet. A short, Hispanic woman pushed a black cart along the sand, weaving between the myriad of sunbathers, and rang her bell to alert us to the sweetened, cold ice that lay within. Beside us, a trio of 20-somethings talked loudly, I suspect they were inebriated and every 45 minutes or so we had to move our towels a few feet further inland, the tide rising as the sun began it’s afternoon decent.

The sun was warm, the breeze was cool and when I worked up the courage to venture into the water (I can’t swim) the murky and grey ocean felt like stepping into an ice bath. But I quickly acclimated to the water and was nearly knocked over by the swell even though I only waded in knee deep.

Clouds moved in and I accidentally fell asleep, sunglasses on, book on stomach, and dreamt of Dr. Greene’s last episode “On the Beach.”

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Soon it was time to leave and when I opened my eyes to the washed out blues, whites, beiges and browns of summer I couldn’t help but think and realize how much I love and miss the vibrant fiery reds and yellows of fall. How the cool winds, laced with the bitterness of winter make my cheeks red with the promise of snow.

While I loved my beach outing, I’m still counting my days til October.


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