Just as there is a calm before the storm, there is a calm before the beach is flooded with sun seeking, ocean craving people. The waves continue to lap against the shore and the gulls still cry out to each other in search of hot dogs to be stolen, but those are the only noises. There are no hollering toddlers or life guard whistles, no chairs being set up or music being played. I am left alone with my thoughts and the sea.
Before the masses come, I have the beach all to myself. I practically own it. At eight, nine, and even ten in the morning, there’s only one or two other beach goers, so I take my towel and my chair and sprawl them out as widely as I can. It’s the perfect time to stake out my little spot on the beach while nobody is around, because soon enough there will be chairs, tents, and umbrellas surrounding me on all sides.
The best days are when a large group of us arrives early, seeking out the best spot to set up camp. There are a couple ways to go about this. We can either set up the chairs in a straight line, which is no good for talking, or we can circle up, which gives us our space and creates a feeling that this is our part of the beach. So circling up usually win and we sprawl out on our chairs and towels, taking up as much room as possible..
We get there when no one is around, stay through the day, and remain even when the crowds start to thin once again. When we have the beach to ourselves, whether it’s in the winter or in the early hours of the morning, that’s when we realize how lucky we are. Instead of a crowded beach in Miami or a rocky beach in California, we have the perfect sand, warm water, and a wonderful place to call home. Every person I see on the beach is happy and smiling, unless they’re upset about having to leave.
This is all ours; the calm mornings, the hours upon hours of talking, and the refreshing dips in the ocean.