The beach is my favourite place. Some people love going into the bush, some love climbing mountains, some love the canyons of cities. I love the beach.
For ten years I lived and worked across the road from one of Australia’s most popular beaches. From my office I could see to the where the sea and sky met, and watch dolphins, whales, sea birds and osprey.
I also spent time living in Tauranga, on the Mt Maunganui side of the harbour. Living at Papamoa, I could walk the 9km along the beach to the Mount and be constantly amazed by the waves, the ships approaching and departing the port, dolphins, seabirds, shells and crabs.
The beach is my go to place when I need to replenish my batteries. When I have challenging thoughts to process and resolve I have always headed to the nearest beach. Walking barefoot on the sand, water swirling around my feet, or just standing looking out to sea has always calmed me, revitalising my spirit. I particularly enjoy it when there’s wind and rain. The waves have more power and the spray flies wild; perhaps it matches my inner turmoil. The words of the navy hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’ come to mind:
Creator Spirit, by whose breath
Were fashioned sea, and sky, and earth;
Who made the stormy chaos cease
And gave us life and light and peace:
We cry, O Spirit strong and free
For those in peril on the sea.
My nearest beach is now New Brighton and the effect is still powerful. Experiencing the touch of sand, water and wind, the sounds of gulls and waves, the smell and taste of salty air, the sights of seemingly endless beach and the far horizon weave their magic.
The stormy chaos of my mind and spirit are calmed and I breathe again, as light and peace fill my mind.
Lockdown has meant I can’t physically get to a beach. There have been a few challenging days when I could have done with beach time. I look forward to my next visit eagerly. I am grateful for knowing it will be there, and that I will be able to capture some of the magic of the place.