Though we live close to the beach, we don’t have a real beach day very often. There are a lot of things that have to fall into place to make it possible. First, it has to be a Saturday, the only day we’re both home all day. It has to be after July 4th, because the water’s too cold to swim before then, and it has to be before the weekend after Labor Day, because beyond that the lifeguards are gone and Ellen won’t swim. Then the weather has to be good, and we have to be home and without other pressing chores. A lot of variables, but we do get there a few times each summer, and more when company is here.
It was fun today. When we have friends and family visiting, we usually go to one of the town beaches, where there are public restrooms and snack bars (we’ll be doing that in August), but when it’s just us, we go to a beach where you have to walk about a quarter mile through dunes and a dune forest, something a lot of people don’t want to bother doing, so it’s rarely crowded. You can see some of the dunes in the background of the picture above.
You might also see a sign there marking the edge of a roped-off area for nesting birds, like this piping plover.
They’re an endangered species, mainly because they nest on beaches. And who else do you think likes beaches? A number of nesting areas are set aside for these birds, and others like the Least Tern, to give them a chance, and people usually respect that and stay out. The nesting areas are at the back of the beach anyway. It’s still hard for them to feed along the surf line, but they manage. We were happy to see five of them on our beach today, more than usual, so they must have had at least one successful nest.
The ocean temperature was about 65 degrees, cold but okay once you’re in. We had a swim, then a little nap, a snack, a walk on the beach, and some reading time. I read the Peter Beagle interview in LOCUS, the July issue.
I’ve been subscribing to LOCUS since the seventies, it’s a good way to keep up with what’s being published in science fiction and fantasy. They have an interesting interview technique: they remove all the questions, and edit the answers so it reads like an author talking about himself. Some interviews work better than others, but usually you get a good idea of what the author would be like to talk to, I think. I’ve been a fan of Beagle since reading his first two novels in the early seventies: “A Fine and Private Place” and “The Last Unicorn.” For a long time he didn’t publish much, but starting in 1987 with “The Folk of the Air”, he’s done a series of very fine novels that I’ve enjoyed greatly. I met Peter at the San Diego Comicon last year, bought his two short story collections from him there, and have savored those as well. He has two new novels coming up that I’ll buy when I can, and I’ve already pre-ordered a young-adult book soon to be published, “I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons.”
A good day at the beach, even if the “day” was really only a few hours. But they were golden!