When you’re a child, the world is small. The important things are in front of you–what you feel, touch, smell.
I remember my first time at the beach, as a 3 year old. It was Mission Bay on a cool morning, but there was sun. There are vague memories, mostly feelings, of soft and cool sand my feet made impressions in.
Running. The freedom to run with no boundaries–a big deal for a 3 year old. Nothing to hurt you. The beach is like that. The sand seemed endless to me and the world got bigger that day.
Sand–scraping, pushing, digging. You feel it on your hands and feet and all over. It’s a great feeling if you think about it. Again, freedom. Freedom to mold, construct, dream, pretend–all the things a child must do.
Water. Dipping the toes. Coolness. Splashing, not too deep, Mom is setting a boundary again. But it feels so good to get wet. Does this last forever? It should–even a 3 year old knows that.
Crackers, cookies, snacks–this is a fun place. Mom is happy too–something’s different.
The day ends–sadness. Why would we ever leave this place? Is something wrong? Can’t we just stay here?
But somehow, this day has changed my young life. Something has been introduced to me that is good–better than other places. Will I come back again. I hope so.
Illustration by Francha Cavitt