Living on one of two relatively small islands means I have grown up within breathing distance of salty sea air. It is only a hop, a skip, and a long jump to reach the beach here in New Zealand.
I go to the beach for every occasion - to chill with a friend on the sand dunes, to find adventures in the beach caves, to run at a gallop beside my dogs on the edge of the water and sand, and most of all to find some sense of inner calm.
The beach is my retreat from the world - a place on the edge of all existence where I can hear a deep silence.
In my mind, there is a storage of beach memories - all those small wonders accumulated from the days, seasons, and years spent beside the rolling waves.
Between the dunes and tussock reeds, there exists...
A family day out, with boogie boards and ice cream at the end of the day.
The sandcastle of my dreams: all turrets and moats and seashell portals.
A tonne of sand that wants to get stuck in your hair, your eyebrows, behind your ears, and in your dogs fur.
A flurry of seagulls that pester anyone who brought fish and chips.
A collection of shells, waiting to be made into a driftwood mobile.
Two old ladies, sitting under an umbrella, watching the ships roll by.
A section of sand that has been wet and then dried, so that the surface is hard, and cracks under your feet.
An ever changing display of waves, turquoise blue in the summer sun, broody and grey in the winter, touched with white foam at the tips.
A deep hole, dug by somebody else, and filled with water by the rising tide.
A moment of reflection, and the overwhelming realisation that we are so small, so tied to this land, this earth that nourishes us. An epiphany into the wild beauty of life. A sense of wonder at the other world that exists within that vast ocean.