By Lori-Anne Poirier
The beach was all ours when we arrived on Thursday morning a few weeks ago, just me and two small, adventure-seeking kids.
And it couldn’t have been more enticing if it had been a hot day in June.
The clouds above were lowing.
The lake was choppy, dark and frigid.
A cool zephyr blew up the beach from off the lake.
Hardly the makings of a day at the beach, you say?
Well we were, after all, more than halfway through October.
But I have lately come to decide that beaches – especially in the Okanagan where there’s sand and surf aplenty – should not be reserved as summertime destinations only.
Just because there’s no sun to tan you, just because the water’s too cold to swim in, just because there’s snow on the ground (thank heavens, not yet, though), doesn’t mean it’s not a good day for the beach.
In fact it’s better, because there’s no labyrinth of bodies to navigate, no body issue stress since you’re fully clothed with gloves and scarf to boot, and no worries about letting your kids wander more than five feet from you because there’s no crowd for them to get lost in.
I felt torn, standing in the sand with my wellies on and taking it all in, between feeling sorry that more people weren’t there to enjoy the amazingness of an autumn morning at the beach, and smug that we were the only ones privileged to be in that particular place at that particular time.
Leaves as luminescent as refined gold drifted around our feet.
A few seagulls circled overhead, their melancholy cry carried over the breeze and out with the waves.
My kids and I played chase.
We dug through the sand with our plastic shovels and buckets and sifter.
We didn’t find any treasures or (fortunately) rubbish because the sand had already been cleaned.
We could still see the lined tracks from the mechanical beach cleaner.
My daughter threw handfuls of sand in the water while my son pretended to fish with a long, skinny stick.
I pushed them on the swings.
And pushed, and pushed, and pushed.
Swings are always a hit in our family.
Just before lunch, a kitesurfer showed up, and we watched him struggle to get his kite up before giving up and packing it in.
For lunch, we munched on peanut butter and honey sandwiches, an apple each and a coffee shop cake pop while staring out at the water.
We talked about anything and nothing.
And then, just before we got into the cake pops, a few fat, sloppy raindrops began to fall.
They didn’t want to go.
The kids, I mean.
“It will stop soon, Mum, I’m sure,” my son assured me with his four-year-old trove of wisdom and experience.
He may have been right, but it was almost time to bring the adventure to an end, anyway, and the rain offered a valid excuse.
We packed up our things and headed back to the car.
“We’ll come back when it stops,” my son insisted.
“We can come back tomorrow, can’t we?” he proposed.
I look back once more, to see a young couple, holding hands, heading for a bench with a view.
The entire beach is theirs, now.
And I hope it’s as magical for them as it was for us.
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