Friday, April 27, 2012

The bi-toed monster footprints in the sand

I love my walk on the beach. It’s become a wonderful ritual on my Mondays and Fridays off. I drop the children at their school bus then drive down to the beach, take a thirty minute walk along the sand and feel as if I have set myself up for a wonderful day.
I was a bit out of sorts this morning. We’ve had a busy week and even though I thought we weren’t late for the bus, as we drove past the bus stop I could see the other children all boarding and then horror of horrors, the bus slowly pulled away and we missed it. I didn’t panic, just followed the bus thinking than eventually it would have to stop again. It took a pretty convoluted route, stopped for a very short time at a major intersection (where I made the decision that I shouldn’t let my kids out – too busy, too quick.) Eventually, the bus stopped at a random roundabout with a convenient little parking place. There weren’t any other children waiting and then I realised that the clever coach driver had noticed the car following him along his convoluted route and had stopped for my kids. I was grateful but a little flustered and felt grumpy as I made my way to the beach.
There’s a magic in a beach walk though. Those waves dashing the shore work on an aural level through the brain fibres and along the emotional rivulets of your soul. The sky was grey but it didn’t matter. The sand was soft, forcing my body to work up just a little bit of heat and sweat as I worked at walking and my muscle memory worked at forgetting the tension of the bus catching drive.
It’s a sensory delight, the sights and sounds of the sand and sea, that inexplicable sea side smell of emptiness. The soft yielding sand and splash of cold salty tang. It’s a distraction for the body and the brain. As I walked I couldn’t help noticing the minor major details, the broken plastic chair that was a bit broken the time before last, very broken last time, has now disappeared. The small pretty shells washed ashore. The absence of those strange sea weedy little things that look like coconut shells but could easily harbour some watery creature from the depths of the scary deep. The smooth rivulets of clean sand that the tractor comes to tidy and the man in the tractor must take a great pride in his work because he always makes pretty patterns on the shore.
Today there was the added pleasure of the bi-toed monster footprints in the sand. There aren’t often footprints when I walk as I am at the beach fairly early. Today there were bare footprints that I puzzled at a while. There were clearly two sets, one walking up, one walking back, but they were so evenly spaced that the foot had landed in almost exactly the same place at times, creating a wonderfully neat bi-toed imprint in the sand. I had great fun imagining the monster creating the print with a set of 5 toes at each end of his foot.
The puzzle was soon solved by the appearance of the bare foot runner enjoying his early morning beach experience as much as me (but with more sweat). His running stride was impressively even and he was stepping on to his own footprints, Robinson Crusoe style. We said ‘Ola’ and he was away. I finished my walk, feeling refreshed to the very depths of my soul.