The setting plays out in a scene often depicted in brochures now vividly brought to life. Pallet of blue: indigo, turquoise, eau de Nil, pageant blue. French blue, sky blue, sea blue, mountain blue. Blue blue. Sand that sticks to skin, froth and white tipped waves. Children playing.
Cluster of smartie coloured beach huts. Children playing. Adults seeking a connection. Children playing.
It was the children. My children were there again, little and intoxicated with the activity of playing. Jumping into shallow puddles, clambering onto a rock to jump, squeal, climb, jump, squeal without hesitation, oblivious to caution and possibility of absolutely anything. It was me jumping when I felt only the moment of doing that, jumping and climbing and jumping again. What happens when we grow to look for obstacles? We don’t jump anymore. We feel the coldness of water, heat of the sun. Become cowards at the idea of spontaneity – so sad to be so careful.
A group of school children swept like a giddy current onto the beach. None were swimmers but all stood on the edge, and jumped, hoping for shallow sand to stand up in. Nevertheless they jumped and the look on their faces as they splashed about like a sardine run made me envy them. Can’t remember when last I just jumped and hoped for the best. Now I don’t jump fearing the worst.
This little beach holds dear memories for many I know. It was my first time there. We grew up on other beaches and those memories came flooding back – then it was easier. My children were happy and I was helicopter mother with palms filled with sunscreen. I had forgotten those times. These are not my children and so I could enjoy their parents trying, and failing to tell them to stay away from the deep end, or come back to the umbrella. I loved these little rebels who sought only to be left to follow the sea and dig at pebbles, oblivious to sand in their costumes and bobbing bluebottles, long dead on the shoreline.
The beauty of the afternoon, only an afternoon on the beach at St. James was the lesson I left with. Don’t overthink everything, every minute of everyday. Follow the purity of exploring, just doing … just jumping sometimes. So liberating. Why have I been wearing these phantom water wings for so long?