Monday, July 30, 2012

Beach Reflections

I have always loved the beach. The smell of salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.
                                                                                                                                 -- Anonymous

What early memories of the beach or water-related adventures do you have? My earliest memories, literally, are of the ocean when, at age 2, I got lost from my parents while I was digging on the beach. I kept "running out of sand" so I kept moving on down the beach. The story has a happy ending since an aunt who was parked a few yards (miles?) down the beach saw me and carried me back to my frantic parents.

Growing up on Long Island (New York) as I did, I spent many days at the beach with my cousins. I quickly learned to time the waves and jump them, or later, body surf, and when to outrun the monster waves which were abundant on Fire Island when the tide was right. But the beach always represented fun and adventure for me. Here's a short list of beachy things etched in my memory bank.
  • Sand so hot it burned my feet
  • Miles of storm fencing
  • White lifeguard stands dotting the beaches with those ominous flags that told us whether or not we could swim
  • Smelly bath houses (Might as well tell it like it was.)
  • Seaweed entangled about my ankles
  • Jelly fish --- ewwwwwww!
  • Tuna salad sandwiches on French rolls seasoned with the salt and sand of the beach (Is there anything better?)
  • Our favorite take-along beverage in big thermos jugs, grape juice mixed with lemonade Oh, my! The pause that refreshed.

These days I live in a landlocked state, no quick trips to the ocean side for me. (Kim and Carol - you're eating my heart out!) Now it takes advance planning and a drive of many miles to get there, nevertheless, like the ancient sea turtles, we return to the sea each year. (You can read a bit more about this at my personal blog, Camper.)

Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.
                                                                                     -- Michelle Held

This brings us full circle to my original question: What early memories of the beach or water-related adventures do you have?

By now you've guessed that this post has nothing to do with photography, and that's okay. What I hope I've done is stir some of your cherished, long-forgotten childhood memories of water adventures, wherever that might have been, in a pool, a lake, an ocean. Even the bathtub if you must. But come on over to the comment page and share with us some of your special water memories.

While you're at it, don't forget to trot on over to our Flickr page to post (and label) your "water" photos. We've had some absolutely sublime water photos this month. Choosing the "In Focus" feature has been a challenge because all of the photos you've contributed are outstanding. 

The "Water" theme will continue through Friday so please add some more of your masterpieces to our Flickr page.


Deanna said...

Not much beach for me as a kid, but plenty of water. Growing up in Dallas we had plenty of large (ya know it's Texas so it's gotta be big) lakes close by. We owned a "boat house" on a lake about an hours drive from our home and most weekends we would spend there, swimming, waterskiing (my fav) and just having fun.

gina said...

As a child, we always lived near water, and beach outings were a big part of my summers. My favorite memories of the ocean include body surfing at Zuma beach, just north of Malibu -- I would spend most of the day catching the waves and letting them carry me into the shore. Pure exhilaration! Thanks for helping me remember that wonderful feeling of riding the waves. Love your water pictures -- the colors are so great!

terriporter said...

We didn't go to the beach much when I was a child and I sometimes wonder where my love of the ocean came from. But from the time my boys were very small, we spent a week or two every summer in Del Mar (just north of San Diego) and I have (and hope they have) some wonderful beach memories. Your story about getting lost at the beach when you were two reminds me of my youngest son who would take off down the beach to play with another child and we had to watch him every second. Now that they are all adults, a few years have passed since we have all been together at the beach but we will be spending a week together on the beach in CA in August and I can't wait. I love your photos with the aqua water against the black rocks -- Hawaii?

Dotti said...

Oh, Deanna! You would have fit in just fine with our family. When we moved away from the coast, my father immediately found a cabin on the nearest lake and bought a boat. Water-skiing! Oh, yes! We spent hours doing that. Water was my father's life blood, I believe. Thanks for reminding me!


Dotti said...

Oh, Gina! This sounds like so much fun, it just makes me want to pack up and make that 10-hour drive to the beach right now. Thanks for the memories!


Dotti said...

Yes, Eagle Eye ... Hawaii it is. Since we've not been to the beach this year, I went to my archives for some of that great water that can only be found in Hawaii. I know you'll all have a great time on your family reunion/beach vacation. Can I come?


heyjudephotography said...

Love those water shots Dotti. Makes me want to be there right now! Oh, I so love being by and in the water too. Hey, and I'm a Pisces! Two fish! How fitting. I remember swimming in the freezing cold gorge near my house, going to the lake many weekends, and sometimes many summer evenings for a quick swim. Good memories. Thanks Dotti.

Cathy H. said...

Love your post, Dotti and your beautiful beach photos!! The blues are stunning! Since I've lived in Arkansas all my life I haven't had many opportunities to go to the beach! I do remember as a child we visited with my aunt and uncle who were stationed in Florida. The first sight of the water that was endless and so powerful was very overwhelming for a little girl! We waded in the water, played in the sand, and picked up shells that we put in a box. As always we were traveling home late at night to avoid the heat, since our car wasn't air conditioned! We heard this strange scratching noises coming from the back of the station wagon. Dad pulled over, dug out the flashlight and discover that the pretty shells we had picked up were occupied and those sea creatures were missing their ocean!

kelly said...

oh the beach photos dotti! so beautiful. my first memories of water are as a little girl camping with my parents at keystone lake here in oklahoma. a different sort of beach, but sandy nonetheless. :) my friend chrissy and i made sand castles and floated in intertubes while our moms made us bologna & cheese sandwhiches. seems like a lifetime ago. thanks for the moment to walk down memory lane. :)

Dotti said...

Hmmm ... hadn't thought about that ... I'm Aquarius ... you may be on to something there, Judy! And, yes, your neck of the woods has some gorgeous ... and cold lakes! Very pretty in addition to fun.


Dotti said...

Thank you, Cathy. I took them in Hawaii. The first was taken on Maui, the second in Kona, on the Big Island. I'm so glad you were able to find the ocean when you were a child. There is something so magical about the first time children see that endless expanse of water.


Dotti said...

Lakes are good, too, Kelly! When we moved away from the ocean, my father found the nearest lake, a cabin and a boat. We were all set. There are some fun things you can do on a lake that you can't do on the ocean ... like floating on an innertube until you turn into a prune!


Linda said...

I love being by the water! When I was little we sometimes went to the gulf coast and I remember fishing for fish but catching crabs! I remember trying to reel them up and onto the pier before they let go of the bait! fun! I remember hot sand, sea weed and jelly fish too!

We began taking yearly trips to the gulf coast with our kids in the 90's. Hopefully we will always do this and hopefully our kids and grandkids have some happy memories!

We have a chain of lakes here in central Texas and we spent 20 years looking for a lakehouse! We found it, remodeled it, sold it, bought another, remodeled it, sold it and are now lakehouse-less! I'd love another if I could convince my trophy husband to not remodel it and sell it!


Dotti said...

Oh, Linda! You rekindled another memory: In the evening, after a day of swimming, we'd ride over to the docks to watch all the crabbers. My cousin, who would talk to a wooden-headed Indian, would start conversations with all of them. I can smell the salt air just thinking about it! I'm with you ... if I had a lake house, I don't think I'd want to part with it!


Kim Stevens said...

Oh Dotti, you know that I love the beach. But of course I had only been once when I was 10 and then not again until my forties for a vacation. Now, living 30 minutes away I can't think of living anywhere else. My first memories of water though go back to childhood when we would go to a lake in the summer and all us kids would do was fish and try to break our record catch from the day before.

Dotti said...

One of these days, Kim, I'm coming to find you so you can take me to your beach!! It sounds so awesome.


parsoncarson said...

Dotti, I just loved this entry. I had forgotten your early years on Long Island. I do remember being at Lake White and the cottage your dad and mom had there. Although we always had to wade through the grasses to get to where you could swim freely. The picture window of the cottage had a great view. With our grandfather sailing on Sir Lipton's yachts and our great grandfather being a sea captain, I think we get our love of the sea naturally. Thanks for resurrecting such wonderful memories!

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