Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Do People Walk the Beach?

I ask myself this question as I take my daily vacation walk on the beach. Why do I walk it? I like looking at, and listening to, the water, I like the exercise, and I like watching for birds and other photo opportunities.

Although past beach trips might prove me wrong, I’m not a member of the very large shell collecting club. Other people walk to work on their tans. Young men jog and old men shuffle or are pushed in a beach wheelchair (very big wheels). Away from the crowds, couples carve out a place for themselves in the sand grass; another couple embraces out in the water for all the world to see and take note - yes, we see you and are sure yours is the greatest love of all. Preschool age children are everywhere, but planted, digging or splashing, not walking. Grandparents and parents are the careful attendants.

Age-appropriate attire is sometimes sorely lacking for people in their 50s and beyond - I had to put blinders on frequently so as not to go blind. For a few minutes I was stuck behind..., never mind. Florida natives of every age and gender are easily spotted - no, I didn’t take pictures of them.

Young women prance in their bikinis and young men, and old, watch them. A very fit, tan, tattooed 30-something blond woman slowly parades up and down the beach looking for shells and finding attention. Another very tan European man struts his speedo stuff. Most of us are more modestly clothed and amble along, sometimes alone, other times chatting with accompanying companions. Bits of conversation are heard from those going by as well as from people sitting in their beach places. Once you tune in, it becomes an entertaining, non-sequitur conversation:

“Goldman dropped 13 doctor’s’s good for you...what can you say that would...he wasn’t spending time with his family...(unintelligible Dutch)...what did you catch?...stay togethuh...she’d be better off...mamacita!...(Russian phone conversation)...summer program at college...”

Over-riding the human talk are sounds of terns, seagulls, willets, and waves rolling onshore. Your own music of the beach depends on what channel you tune into. Is it your own thoughts, the music of nature, or the conversations around you? For me, my channel constantly changes depending on the wave-lengths I’m picking up.

Why do you walk the beach?

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