A Total Sensory Experience

At the beach I close my eyes and…

I feel the wind ruffle the individual hairs on my arm and blow across my face. Gritty sand sticks to my feet. My skin is tight from dried saltwater.

I see the colorful umbrellas, kites, sand toys, bathing suits, blankets and towels as I look down the shore. The water washes in shades of blues and the sand paints in shades of white as it stretches, interspersed with tall grass.

I hear the crashing waves as they break across themselves and the sandbar. Seagulls and crows squawk as a radio plays in the distance. Children laugh.

I smell ozone and fish from the water, a hint of beer, and the sunscreen lotion with its whiff of coconut.

I lick my lips and taste the salt in its bitterness before I fall asleep.


Fish Out of Water

An introverted gamer teen desires family time,

to feel connection. And love.

She takes off her shoes and follows grandma through the sand,

carrying chairs and umbrellas close to water’s edge, smiling,

even though today is not a day for swimming.

She sits in a chair as sand blows into her every crease and crevice.

The sun is too bright and too hot, but the wind cools…

even as it annoys by throwing hair into eyes and sand into

her sandwich.

An artist, she draws the waves and her family as she waits,

wanting to get into the water, but unable to.

She watches her family members laugh and frolic in the sea.

Her skin burns. Pain.

Day one is done, her beach time is over.

Six more days, no gaming.

Nobody talks to her. Nobody to talk to.

She sits alone in the house, reading. Alone.

This is her memory of the beach.


Tucker (a vignette)


A young man brings a black curly-haired four-month-old puppy to the beach. He throws a tennis ball across the white mounds and the pup runs after it, bringing it back slobbery and full of sand. The young man throws it toward the water.

The pup runs after it, but stops abruptly at water’s edge, prancing back and forth as he stares into the water. It’s coming for him. He watches the ball bounce up and down in the waves. He cries for the ball. He sniffs the salty air. He looks down. What is he looking at? Is it a crab? A fish? A sand dollar not yet dead? He tentatively steps into the water and bites at the waves as they crash against the shore. He tries to get them, before they get him. He turns to look at the young man who tells him again to get the ball. He whines and turns back. Boldness takes over the pup and he leaps into the water, grasping the ball in his jaws. Fear turns to joy as he frolics amongst the waves, the ball caught in his mouth instead of a fish.

The young man calls him back to the towel. The pup drinks fresh water from the green fold-up cup the man has filled for him. The pup turns back toward the water, his muzzle dripping with the fresh water. He runs back to repeat his actions, biting at the waves, catching the ball and frolicking in the ocean, fresh water dripping into salt water as he searches for those elusive sea creatures that ride the tides.

Eventually slowing down, he runs back to his owner when called to plop down in the shady sand under an umbrella, tired from his new experience. His tongue hangs out and he lays his head on his paws to rest. Ah, the joy of the sea.