Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Long Day Series #1: Got Sand?

Got Sand?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I am not a beach person. I grew up in a big city with a lot of asphalt. There are no beaches in Phoenix and therefore no sand to get in-between my toes or--heaven forbid--inside my purse or backpack.

Then I moved to Southern California, just a dozen miles from the coast. Over the past 16 years, I've tried to embrace the idea of sand. For years I joined friends at the beach every Sunday afternoon. I would pack my beach bag, grab my chair and head to the seashore. I would unfold my chair and ever-so-carefully set it in the sand and then gently place my beach bag beside it. I would keep my bag zipped at all times, only opening it to retrieve a magazine or towel or snack. I was very careful to not get sand on my body as well, except for my feet of course. If there was a way to keep sand off of my feet, I would have done that, too.

I'm not bothered by the water, though. I like the water. I love the water. I've always enjoyed swimming--in pools or lakes or the deep ocean. It's just the sand I have a problem with. The gritty, microscopic sand.

Well, today was one of those days where I embraced the sand. Eric and the girls went on a half-day fishing trip. I opted to stay on the beach and have some much-needed " mom time" while they fished on the boat. I brought some books, magazines, my Bible and a notebook. I was set. I waved good-bye to the family as they motored out into the ocean. Then I chose a shady spot at the very edge of the beach, far from the water, careful not to get too much sand on my feet. I was set! Then it happened. As I was watching the boat go further out to sea, a guy walked up to me and struck up a conversation. He was a volunteer with the Ocean Conservancy and today just happened to be the California Coastal Cleanup Day. Being a remote Beach, no one had shown up to help pick up trash. For the next hour--glove on one hand and trash and recycling bags in the other--I not only got sand in-between my toes, but tar all over the bottoms of my bare feet. Because the sun was barreling down on me, I also found myself jumping in the ocean for a swim. Now my whole body had little grains of sand on it. It wasn't exactly what I'd planned to do with my morning, but it was a lot of fun. The fishing on the boat was good, too, so I still had a few more hours to myself to read and write.

When my family finally returned, with 137 pounds of  rock fish, Amber asked me to go boogie-boarding with her. I obliged. We swam, rode the waves, tumbled on top of each other and practically covered ourselves in sand! Riding a wave all the way to the shore means you will likely end up on the beach, in the sand. And we did! And we had a blast! And I realized that there was life after sand.

My boogie-boarding adventure was cut short, however, when a wave blind-sided me and I slammed my foot against a rock that was hidden by the tide. I broke my pinkie toe and spent the rest of the time sitting on my board on shore and watching Amber have fun. Soon she joined me and we played in the sand together. Eric and Autumn arrived shortly thereafter, and we all spent the remaining minutes at the beach building sand castles.

It was a fun day and I got one step closer to enjoying the sand. I was still careful when I packed up my chair and belongings, making sure none of the beautiful sand made it back to my house. After all, we want the sand to be there the next time we visit the beach. 

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