Go, go to the beach

When you’re tired, go to the beach. When you’re happy, when you’re bereft. When you’re hopeful. Go by car, go by bike, get a bus, go on foot. Take the detours shown by the little white squares on red. But go, go to the beach, writes Liz Breslin.

Liz Breslin
Liz Breslin
Go to the beach with people. Have a flat white with an old friend on a damp beanbag overlooking the dance of the seaweed and the surfers in the swell. Have a beer on a black rock over the point with a new friend, hidden from the wind, skin stinging from what might be the last dip of the season. Decide that dips are like ski runs; any day now could still be a #dunnerstunner and you shouldn’t call your last.

Go to the beach on your own. Leave your towel. Leave your phone. Take nothing with you. Leave your keys, if you came by car, in that obvious place you always choose by the front tyre. Wonder why you bother locking up at all. Walk. Or sit. Watch dogs playing chase. Watch gulls. Notice the weft of the sand and the Gandalf sticks that have stayed stuck against the wind and the tides. The stones. The shells. The odd bits of plastic that look like jewels until they’re not.

Remember to look out. Remember to look up. Watch. Watch out for drivers. Watch out for seals. Remember that there is no point to a beach. Be a kid, whether or not you have an actual child with you. Kick up rivulets of water in the shallows. Run from waves. Run into waves. Wave. Write secrets or love with your big toe in the soft sand close to the tideline. Know it will all get washed away by a one-time-only wave.

Go directly to the beach on the drive to Otepoti from Aotearoa’s most inland regions. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, do not make Monopoly metaphors when you could be running, careless, with your arms back and up. A beachplane.

Go to the beach like it’s a religion, regularly, with ceremony and intent. Process along the sand, intoning. Make it a pilgrimage. Or don’t. Go to the beach for a casual catch-up with the ions. Go when you do and when you don’t have the time. Go to the beach when your book is calling. Go when you prefer the green of the forest, let the expanse work its way on you.

Go to the beach without accoutrements. No surfboards, no skimboards, no buckets and spades. Go to the beach and dig. Make dribble-castles or cairns. Go to the beach and bring back treasure. Sand snugged between your toes until it runs out to hide in your carpet. The sound of the sea like your ear is a shell. Lulling, long after you leave.

Go to the beach in your head, if you can or if you have to or if you’re in a yoga mindful lycra place and this is one of the exercises they get you to do. Hear the waves come in and in. There was a time you’d never seen the sea but now you can take it with you.

Go to the beach with bare feet in all the weathers. Go to the beach and love every speck of it. Go to the beach at the wrong time of day. Sunsets, while not necessarily overrated, are about as overblown as Monopoly metaphors and transparent beach yearnings. Go to the beach even though it makes you a walking, splashing, beaching cliche.



What they said:

Smell the ozone!

- Pater, you cannot actually 'smell' ozone unless you can smell the ionosphere.