Apparently it’s bad form to begin a letter (remember those?) with apologies for the delay in writing, and I suppose the same applies to blogs. I’ll just say that I’ve been enjoying the summer.

There’s something about going to the beach, and although I don’t go as often as I like, I’ve been more this summer than in previous years. Not being completely neglectful of writing, I’ve been trying to capture all the sensations and feelings. First of all, it is an expedition, even when walking to the nearest one. There is planning to set aside time, the gathering of sunscreen, hat, water, towel, and so on, and the journey there. Like a relationship, the pleasure of going to the beach requires dedicated time and effort.

When you look around, there is the distant horizon where sky meets sea in one direction, a near horizon of forest, bluff, or grassland in the other, and a strip of gravel or sand dividing the two views. Extremes of near and far, coming together. So the beach is a territory of compromise, if I wanted to extend the relationship metaphor. The size of the beach varies with the tide.

Underfoot when you stroll, and underbody when you lie down, the sand is alternately firm and yielding, dry and wet depending where you go. I think I’ll just leave the relationship metaphor possibilities of sand alone, and distract myself by wondering why underfoot is a word, and underbody is not, at least according to my spell checker.

The sounds of the surf as you approach the beach, or as you lie down and cover your face with a hat, make it clear you are at the ocean and no mere lake. Gravel doesn’t make for the most pleasant walking, but generates the richest sounds as the water recedes and rattles through the rocks.

Depending on the breeze and surf, the salt air may be more or less obvious, but to fully appreciate the salt, there is no substitute for full immersion and having the taste of the salt on your lips and in your nose. It’s not just salt, of course. Sea salt tastes different from refined salt because of the other minerals and elements in the water. Perhaps it’s best not to think about what else might be in the water, and just enjoy the tartness.

Even on warm days, the water is cool, varying from brisk to refreshing. A few minutes in the sun (suitably protected) is usually enough for recovery and the desire to immerse oneself again. The greatest pleasure I have found is to perform a relaxed backstroke, lying on the cool water with the warm sun above. You can look up at the clouds or close your eyes, float up and down with the waves, and listen to the water splashing around you and in the distance.

Now if only I could record these sensations and feelings and recreate them at will in a story. I’m working on it.

Meanwhile, finishing up Kiss Me Deadly. Yet another generic title – there is no suggestion there that our couple are a vampire and a witch, but indeed they are. Review coming soon.

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