Beach Magic

Written By:  Katherine Merz

The tide is out, but there are still a lot of people at the beach. I’ll tell you why. It’s  because of the beach magic. It’s not real magic, but it really feels like it. It’s the wind, that whips at your hair like prying fingers. It’s the the sea, that pounds against the sand with a sound like thunder, and the pause you get between waves, or thunderclaps. Is the storm over? No. Because after just a few moments, the next wave, the next thunderclap is there. Beach magic is the joy, the exhilaration you feel when jumping waves, the wonder when you dive below them. It’s the sneaky smile you get when you ask your mom or dad for ice cream, and the, “thank you!” when they say yes. It’s also the sad feeling when it’s time to go, and the excitement even before you get there, when you imagine what it will be like. But best of all, beach magic is the memories that never go away, the memories that stay with you your whole life.

That’s why we always go to Water Mill in the summer. It’s because our grandparents, Nana and Papa, live there. Going to Flying Point Beach is one of our family traditions. It’s because of the beach magic. Almost every day, we go to the beach and have a picnic with sandwiches, watermelon, water bottles, and potato chips. Usually when we get back to the house, we rinse ourselves off in the outdoor shower. Then we jump into the cool water of the outdoor pool and dive, splash, and jump around for however long we like. One of my favorite things to do in the pool is see how many backflips I can do in a row. Sometimes my little brother and sister and I take ‘the ice cream shot’, a basketball shot from the shallow end into the floating basket at the very end of the other side of the pool. If we make it, it’s ice cream and waffles for breakfast the next morning. I also love to try to push an incredibly, impossibly buoyant pink rubber ball to the bottom of the shallow end. It can be done, but it’s super hard to do. The ball bounces up as if it were on a trampoline no matter how hard you try to push it down. We don’t even bother trying to push it down in the deep end!

When we are done in the pool, we usually go have dinner after taking showers. Nana’s cooking is so amazing, for us it adds to the beach magic. She makes the best grilled peaches in the world, and when you bite into them they melt in your mouth, the tenderness of the fruit taking over your senses completely. Now add lamb chops to that, and baked chocolate pudding for dessert. When it’s time to go to sleep, you still have the whole taste of the entire meal in your mouth, the rainbow of flavors still lingering.

For breakfast is ice cream and waffles, not that we have that all the time! The ice cream shot was made, probably by Jack, my little brother, the sporty one in the family. Usually it’s vanilla, his favorite. If we’re lucky, before we woke up, Dad will have gone already to the Hamptons Coffee Company, to get muffins for us, and coffee for the grown ups. If it’s a nice day, we head over to the beach again, but this time, we drive over to the bay part, even though it’s practically impossible to park there. The bay has beach magic too, but this time, it’s different. This time, it’s the shock of realizing how warm the water is compared to the ocean. It’s the giggles when a crab runs over your toes, trying to escape the many people who are trying to catch it, betting on who will catch the first or biggest crab, sometimes both. It’s the basking in the sun, the laughter of the toddlers wading in the shallow water, and the sun shining down on the bay, the sea, the sand, and you. Sometimes you bring just yourself and a book. Sometimes you bring your whole family, the beach chairs, the umbrella, the toys, the works. Sometimes you go back and forth, from bay to beach, running on the hot sand, lifting your feet up as high as possible, to keep from burning your toes. But whatever you do, whatever, whoever you bring, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the sensation, the feeling you have, when at the beach, on the golden sand or in the deep, blue-green sea, the wonderful Atlantic ocean. That feeling, the wonderful times, that is what beach magic is.