The air has that unmistakable crispness to it, the leaves are dying in a blaze of colourful glory and the word pumpkin is plastered on every other sign, which, to me, means it’s time to hit the beach.
The beach in the summer is not my favourite place. I will make a trip or two for the kids to dig in the sand and splash in the waves, but I never go on my own and I don’t spend very much time there. Too hot, too many accessories to drag around, too dry and sandy.
The beach in the fall though? Now that I can get behind. I recently visited Cleveland Beach near Queensland with my family. The drive there alone was breathtakingly beautiful in itself, switching from coastal views to autumn colour splendour every few kilometeres. Upon arrival to the beach I see that we’re one of only a couple visitors today, compared to a hot August day when we’d likely be parked way down the road.
I hand a couple sand buckets and shovels to my children and send them on their way and my husband and I follow along at a leisurely pace. No crowds to struggle through, no worry of the children getting lost as the only other people I can spot are way down on the rocks with their dogs.
Periodically the children come back and show us their finds — rocks and wood beaten by the sea until they’ve become smooth and soft, seaweed that they imagine is a witch’s hair, shards of shells that didn’t make their arrival to land safely. They dig holes in the sand, bury a rock, cover it up and mark the treasure spot with an X. They scamper close to the water’s edge, then squeal in delight and dart backwards as the waves lap the toes of their rubber boots.