There’s a certain type of calm that follows the echo of waves crashing against rocks. The spray of water at your toes reminding you of the oceans fierceness as the cold wind penetrates your taunt skin to your very bones. These are not the exotic waters of tourist ridden beaches, these are the sands of Wales. This is my home.
As a child my mother disregarded the notion that summer was the time for the seaside. Along with my just as confused brother and sister, I would be packed into the car, the boot housing blankets, wellies, umbrellas and raincoats. The air tightened our lungs and our eyes reflected like glass the sharp coldness of winter. We did not have buckets and spades. Our games were finding the smoothest stone, collecting driftwood to dry out and decorate my mothers fireplace, and that endless search for the perfect shell.
My mother would have us race through the sand dunes, our bodies disappearing and reappearing as we ran up and down the hills of the dunes, our laughter mingling with the whistle of the wind that danced through the somewhat unpleasantly sharp grass that grew sporadically out of the dunes. I’ve concluded with age that this was not for fun and simply a means to keeping us warm and distracted from the fact that we were the only ones populating the abandoned grey beach. I’m grateful for this illusion gifted from my mother.
The ability to find joy in an environment that does not give promise to immediate excitement or comfort is something I may have never discovered for myself if not rounded up and taken on questionable adventures in my youth. Now, if you can’t see for rain and mist you will most likely find me walking in the sand feeling utterly free and reconnected with nature.
Of course Wales has it’s summers and this is also a fine time to visit the beautiful coastline of the country, but that scent of salt won’t consume your nostrils in the same way. You won’t hear the song of the birds being carried on the wind that gently stings your ears. You won’t feel that freedom of wandering, undisturbed, around the rock pools searching for hidden life. You won’t close your eyes and be taken on an adventure to an entirely new world that your imagination has the silence it needs to create, filling in every minute detail like an architect discovering his creation.
If it is cold, dark and dreary…pack up the car, and rediscover those abandoned beaches.