Visiting the Coast By Jack Landry

Floor Jansen once said “It’s good to reflect on life and take a step back and sit and relax and do something else.” What better way is there to do this other than having a nice relaxing day at the beach?  The beach is that serene, calming sort of place that I enjoy going to. The people I spend my time with, the scenery that surrounds me, the crashing of the waves and the sense of peace I feel while staring off into the ocean are some of the reasons why I love the beach so much. It is also why I have certain concerns about the environment and what could happen. 

During my eighteen years of life, I have been able to go to the beach lots of times. Every summer, we would visit the beach two times. Once with my dad’s side of the family in Rhode Island and once with my mom’s side of the family in Maine. I always enjoy spending time with my family and it was always a good break from whatever else I had going on. Being at the beach gives off a sense of tranquility. I have so many memories of building sand castles, walking on rocks, throwing footballs around and more. Very rarely do people get angry while at the beach because there’s no reason to. It’s meant to be a place of relaxation. 

One time, we were eating lunch on the beach when a seagull swooped down and stole our bag of potato chips. Normally, this may have been annoying but at the time it was just funny. We were all sitting in our chairs laughing about it because it was so random. Another funny story was from one summer about ten years ago. We were in Maine and my cousins and I were playing in the sand. My mom came over and was trying to be fun and challenged us to a race. Little did she know it would not end up well for her. 

We decided we’d race from one rock to another. I assume this was like twenty yards or so. My mom counted to three and then we began running. Approximately three to four steps into the race I saw my mom take a full nose dive into the sand face first. It almost seemed like it was in slow motion when it happened. We went to make sure she was okay because we were worried. When my mom rolled over, the whole left side of her face was covered in sand, however she had a big huge smile on her face. Luckily she was fine, embarrassed, but fine. We had a great laugh about that moment over dinner later that night and many other times after that. I have so many fond memories of the beach and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much.

There are many things in our society that remind us of the beach. One venue where this is particularly true is in poetry. For example, there is a poem called “A Wonderful Evening At The Sea Beach” by MD Shahadat Hossain. This poem is about a person dreaming of being at the beach. The poet says things such as the waves “are excited to touch the travelers feet” and “the wind is also singing.” Both of these quotes show how inviting the beach can be. By choosing to personify the waves and air, it is evident that the writer shares my opinions about the beach because the overall tone of this poem is very positive and comforting.  It also proves that the beach is a great place that uses all of our senses.  

Even with all of its great upsides, there is always a downside. The beach is no exception to this. It has its own beasts, whether it is apparent to everyone or not. There are so many dangers at the beach, the hot sun, the uncertain sea current, broken seashells and the various unknowns in the ocean itself.   I have experienced some of these “beasts” in my time while visiting the beach over the years, particularly marine life.  

I remember one time when I was younger, I was at the beach with my family and we went to swim in the water. We were just going about our business splashing around and then we heard a lady scream. Her scream was so piercing to our ears.  We immediately got out of the water because even though we didn’t know what she was yelling about, we knew for sure we were not going to risk it happening to us.  So my mom and I walked over to the woman and checked on her to see what was the matter. It turned out that she had been stung by a jellyfish. She had a bunch of red spots and welts on her leg around the calf area. I had never seen anything like it before. It looked really painful as the woman was crying.  I felt terrible for her.  While I fortunately have never been stung by a jellyfish nor encountered a shark, I too have run into a little danger at the beach albeit on a much smaller scale.  

I remember one time when I was in Maine, I was standing about 5 feet into the ocean when I took one step forward and felt a sharp pain in my foot.  When I got out of the water and looked at my toe. I realized I had a cut though it wasn’t too bad.  I thought that possibly a crab pinched me with its claw, although I suppose I could have also stepped on a seashell.  Thankfully it was minor, especially when compared to the jellyfish sting that poor woman endured. Regardless, it is safe to say that you need to be careful in the ocean.  You are at the mercy of one of nature’s greatest gifts.

Even though the beach may carry with it some negatives, it is because of its natural beauty that it is still incredibly important that we keep the oceans and beaches safe. One way we can do this is by limiting the amount of trash on the beaches and oceans. According to National Geographic, “There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea”(“Ocean Trash”). This is an insane amount of litter and it definitely should not be left on the beach to blow into the ocean and harm marine life. 

Another concern I have is that the sand is becoming contaminated. Researchers have found lots of traces of fecal bacteria at multiple beaches. This could prove to be harmful to everyone including humans and animals. These problems can be fixed. We just need to be more responsible for the decisions we make and what we decide to do on the beach and be more respectful of our environment as a whole, including the beach.

The beach to me is and will always be a wonderful place to visit. It certainly has its downsides or beasts, but I truly believe the good outweighs the bad. It is a great place to make memories that could last a lifetime.  It definitely has for me.  Its calming nature could also benefit your mental health as you leave the worries of your job, personal life and the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind.  

Link to Poem by MD Shahadat Hossain:

Works Cited: 

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