The Appeal of Beaches

What is it about a trip to the beach that makes me feel so content?

It starts with the sound. Whether my eyes are open or closed, I am surrounded by the sound of waves lapping on the shore, rhythmically. It’s unobtrusive and peaceful. It’s the point of quietness just before silence. Silence is uncomfortable. Quiet is beautiful.

Visually, the beach provides the ultimate sense of freedom. We’re all a bit claustrophobic. I especially value the feeling of staring out endlessly into the unknown, nothing obstructing my view. Now that I think about it, it’s always preferable to have some object of reference in the water, whether it be a big boat, a far off island, or a whale, splashing up from the deep. It provides a point of reference — a bit of assurance that it’s not all an illusion — confirmation that the ocean leads to somewhere foreign, exciting, and exotic. In the same way, I prefer skies with a few scattered clouds, small but visible. It’s hard to understand the scale and beauty of the sky without a little fluffy water to obstruct your view.

Beaches are more than simply sights and sounds though. Beaches provide more different sensory reactions than any other topographical area. Dry sand, wet sand, and submerged sand all feel differently beneath my feet, each with their own unique comfort. The sea breeze, with its salty aftertaste, reminds me further of how remote this is from my home town. The water itself provides a coolness that juxtaposes nicely with the scorching sand.

The question that remains — that I cannot answer — is why I find all of these things so relaxing. Why do I enjoy lying in the sun more than lying in the cool air? What am I missing about the beach experience?

This is part of my New Year’s resolution to write more. It’s not necessarily meant for people to read, but if you enjoyed it then I’m glad.

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