We were at the beach these last few days. The beach is absolutely timeless. While almost everything about the way our children play and interact with the world has changed drastically in the last century (and promises only to evolve further), playing at the beach is the same wonderful experience it has always been. They jump waves, dig holes, make sand castles (complete with sand drips), collect shells, and enjoy the surf. It is simple and joyful.


The next time you are at the beach with the kids, I challenge you to find some activity or moment that hasn’t already happened to you… or your parents.. or their parents years ago. We have the same glorious moments over and over again, albeit these days with much more sun screen.

Do you remember:

1. Trying to dig the biggest hole EVER so that you can fill it with water and make your own swimming pool. Giving up after lugging the bucket filled with ocean water back for the 135th time, only to watch 95 percent of your hard labor absorb into the earth?

2. Devouring a warm, mutilated peanut butter and jelly sandwich that your Mom packed despite the fact that it becomes a sand magnet as soon as you remove it from the Ziploc? Crunch, crunch.

3. Convincing yourself that the sand is not really that hot and you can make from the blanker to the boards without your flip-flops, only to discover halfway to your destination how wrong you were?

4. Getting knocked over by at least one wave each season that sends you mercilessly through the spin cycle, shooting salt water up your nose so bad it stings for the rest of the day?

5. Coming across that one family on the beach that has erected a professional looking castle, complete with stairs, towers, escalators and a working drawbridge and wondering why your parents can’t do that?

6. Chasing seagulls until you get one that doesn’t run – or even worse chases you back?

7. Swimming in the ocean and having that warm spot float across your body – and trying so hard not to think about what it actually was?

8. Coming across some dead, stinky sea life that has washed ashore and being equally revolted and fascinated at the same time?

9. Having high tide come in and begin to erode the sand castle you spent hours on; fruitlessly building a protective dam out of the same ineffective sand that is now washing into the sea?

10. Coming home and being amazed at the amount of sand that has hitchhiked in the crotch of your bathing suit?

And no matter whether it is 1908 or 2008, nothing beats that amazing feeling that embraces you after taking a long hot shower and putting on clean clothes — exhausted, sun tanned, and happy.

The Beach. It’s calling you.


Photos by Michael Mendell

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