This post is a nod to the season past...for we are at last joining the new season of spring.
Have you ever walked a winters' stretch of beach? It bears little resemblance to the warm length of toe-digging brown sand in summer. As I pick my way between rocks, driftwood, foam, froth and thick nests of bubbles, there is interest everywhere. The crashing waves are higher and louder. The sand is wet, a coarse gray-black, and there's only a strip of sand visible along the cliffs as the tides are much higher.
No crowds play and loiter, as only a few hardy souls hunker along under winter woolens, acknowledging my solitariness as I pass them by. Gray clouds, scud and race to the waters' horizon, matching winter colors to the water. Sharp wind bites my ear-tips, reddens my cheeks and blows salty air through my lungs.
And, oh the foam in winter! The thick yellow-white, dirty soapy-looking foam. Today it coats the sand, like a sweater, racing on before the wind in froth and bubbles, ever moving and blowing apart to expose pieces of the sand to winters chill bite. Walking through it, I kick it aside as a substance without substance, only meant to hide and cloak. Why do the waves froth and foam in winter so violently upon the sand, do you know?
And then....there's the magic of a winter snowfall on the beach. Have you ever been lucky enough to see the flakes cover the sand...if only for an hour? The ocean roars with the wind while the flakes ignore their upheaval and settle ever so gently on unfamiliar ground; sand...wood...rock...and foam. The beach hides in a crazy game of hide-n-go-seek, while the snow counts the minutes it can stay. A glorious paradox, akin to fairyland enchants lucky spectators at the beach in a snowy wintertide.
On this winters' night the boat lights offshore, shinning through the fog give me pause. Somehow the risk is greater, the courage higher, the sacrifices deeper. At the same time the lights are comforting and commonplace. They put winters elements back into perspective with the presence of humanity.
I reflect as I climb the steps homeward from a long cold walk, that tonight, winter on the beach is best enjoyed by firmly closing the scene to sit in front of a log fire with a bowl of hot chowder in silence, contemplatively soaking it all in. Wouldn't you agree?