Monday, July 28, 2008

Show Me Your Beaches

A few million years ago our ancestors hauled themselves out of the sea and lay panting on the beach. Every summer - not at this moment however, that would be retarded - we head back and do the same thing. I'm thinking of summer holidays past, the beach, the sun screen. the late afternoon drinks, the wine, the accidentally seeing a friends boob... It's a pilgramige. It's elemental. Earth and water. Water and earth. Boob and sand...

The beach itself is not such a hospitable place. Dead jellyfish to the left, seagull carcass to the right, run-aground catamaran straight ahead, boobs behind you...

And yet, despite all this, year after year we return to the beach and certain people embrace the sun and the heat like reptiles. They baste and bake and lie content in the knowledge that cancer is sexy. Toes wriggle and bodies writhe, for the beach is a sensual place. The beach is a place of flesh.

Small people run in the shallows, squealing and yelling. They build things made of sand, they fight and they bury their parents. They will spend much of the next 15 years doing the same thing.

It's the teenagers who are most in tune with the beach. Whether they be in wetsuits, or fancy new sand resistant outfits, they will parade the lean and the taut. They will shriek and laugh and play and shriek some more. Then they will play some more in thigh deep water and make you feel inadequate. From the beach they look like seals.

Then they plunge and swim a few strokes. Becoming instantly bored. There is no goal here for them. They cavort up the sand to collapse on novelty oversized beach towels. Those older, wiser and carrying more baggage look on.

Over the course of any year we gather things that we consider important. We get money, status and cars and pants. At the beach we remove ourselves of all these. The beach is good for us.

The beach is the edge of the world. On the horizon a ship with sails that beckon is held by the afternoon sun. A dog, black against the tide, barks through the waves. It is a happy dog. Not wearing pants. Because dogs don't wear pants. It's barking means nothing. Just as the sun, the sea, the sand, the water and the air, the dog just is.

At times like these here in glorious Auckland I miss the beach.

And the boobs.

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