We are lucky. We have, because of our neighborhood, access to a private beach along the Puget Sound. It's a good beach. There isn't much of it when the tide is high, we have to cross two sets of train tracks to get to it and, because we live in Washington, the shoreline is dirty and rocky rather than silky and golden. But we like it. During the summer we take the kids. Jay pokes around the rocks and pulls out squirming shore crabs for Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat to touch. They dig and throw rocks. I often get to sit on my arse and watch boats criss cross the ocean in front of me.
This summer though, we haven't been able to get down there much. The railroad is working on the tracks and have blocked our entrance with a fat chain and menacing lock. Jay and I tried to make the trek this morning and couldn't. We grumbled: But we paid 45 dollars for the year! Why do they have to work on the tracks during the three months we actually want to use the beach?!
We attempted to get in to by way of our swanky neighbors to the east (Blue Ridge) who have, not only a nice, paved path to the sand, but a play structure that sits lonely and unused. We pressed our faces to the chain link fence, but no one came along for us to pester.
So we loaded up the car and drove to the nearest public beach.
We still had a good time. The tide was superlow. Two blue herons stalked around us, looking for food, then lumbered off: 747s of the avian world who seemed barely able to stay aloft. Sea Anemones (which I think are disgusting, but Jay--who used to be a marine biologist--has made me swear not to convey this disgust to Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat) bubbled up through the sand like hundreds of plantar warts. And the sun came out just enough to warm our backs and lift our spirits.
And I thought, how dumb to grumble about losing beach access when we are so charmed to have it in the first place. I thought a lot about human nature and how people (especially me) will find something to complain about no matter how comfortable our lives may be.
(Thanks to Heather for bringing up this topic a few weeks ago too!)