|The bay announces itself proudly, having the good sense to provide a cliff face to conceal it until the right moment. As I round the edge for what must be the millionth time, I tread carefully, aware of the loose and playful stones that prod upwards at me through thinning sandals, well used to the walk. I always feel lucky to see it in the sunlight, the edges of sea born shimmers seeming to extend to the sand itself, imbuing the scene with a natural richness that forces a smile every time. The sun seems cooler now, its heat coming in waves between soft sea breezes, the perfect combination. Of the two possible routes down to the bay proper I always pick the steep cliff-side descent. I couldnít tell you exactly why, but itís probably an odd sense of accomplishment given how difficult those giant sized steps had been for me as a child. That and the chance of a friendly wave from someone I know down below, a welcoming speck upon the golden drift.
The air isnít as salty as Iíve been led to believe sea air should be, but thereís a hint of it, a background sensation that leaves me glad I packed sandwiches. I half expect to see a thin and twisting column of smoke snaking up from one of so many family barbecues, my uncle giving goes on his bright red canoe to the children, the smell of slightly burnt chicken, the laughter of my outdoorsy cousin as he climbs every rock in sight. Not today though. Today I have the beach to myself apart from an old man and his shaggy dog at the far end. As is so often the case, they look alike, long haired, scruffy and good-natured. As he throws a wet stick for the hundredth time, I hope Iím a fraction as energetic in my old age.
As my sandals hit sand, my feet are instantly covered in it, warm, yielding, comforting and soft. The pacifying effect of sand on a personís speed is clear as I adopt a sluggish gait, barely strolling, feet moving downwards as much as forwards, sandals shovelling the tiny grains in their millions. The beach itself is sandwiched between a wall of pebbles, speckled grey and cream like an eggshell, and the languid, leisurely movements of the sea as its foamy edges content themselves with a fleeting kiss from the driftwood before turning back.
Thereís a certain sadness in the air, as with any place that paints so vivid a picture of itself in your minds eye; the brush of memory mimicking each ebb and flow of your experiences there. In the end Iím left wishing I could do it all again, the barbecues, the games, the songs heard for the first time on my friendís guitar. And as I lie back upon the smooth pebbles and close my eyes, I do.