It's this time of year when I miss the beach at White Rock, BC. It was a great place to go in the evening especially when I had my dog, Cindy, with me. She loved to swim out and bring back the sticks I would throw and even knew the word 'water' meant a trip to the beach.
The first year I was in Ottawa was the hardest. Summer came and there was no beach to go to. Nothing 'right there' where I could just wander down to and take a dip. Oh, there are three beaches in Ottawa but they were nowhere around where I lived and besides, at that early date, 1980, I would have laughed at anyone calling those little patches of sand a beach.
For years I missed the beach but when I finally went for a swim at one of them, I found I had forgotten how to balance when a wave crashes into you. Those tiny river waves almost pushed me right over whereas as a child I used to long for the big three foot waves to pick me up. I would dive right ahead of them and it was so fun.
And yet...there was a small boy playing with a bucket, making little heaps of sand. There was the 'bathing beauties' and their very small thongs. Mothers, a place to eat, all the things that make a day at the beach worthwhile. All the elements are here in Ottawa, just scaled down.
My room mate and I will probably go on a vacation together this year. We haven't decided whether to go east of west. I'm hoping to go to the Maritimes and see a big beach again but I'm okay going through the prairies if that's what he wants. His daughter lives in Alberta. I think he'd like to see her and I could see my brother, who is also in Alberta.
So whatever we do, it'll have spirit, like the little beaches of Ottawa, where, even though no big waves or avenue of restaurants awaits them, they'll just have a ball. A beach ball.