We need milk. The home walls are small. Carpets dusty. Allergies impending. The weekend long. The sun bright.
The Beach brings back a rush of memories. Abu Dhabi Corniche- taken for granted. Summer with family members in Karachi en route to Sandspit Beach with cousins crammed in cars, fingers tightly gripping boxes of jelly biscuits and lumpy pillows. The Karachi beach is adorned with sleepy camels. Roasted blackened corn for sale.
Beaches here in the U.S lack the camels and roasted corn for sale but a beach is a beach and there is always an allure, an escape, a sense of peace at the beach. Wide blue skies, and an ocean that never tires. Here this ocean we visit is much less moody than the Karachi ocean and I am always amazed at how far people venture into this ocean. Even with this peaceful ocean I still hear my mothers, grandmothers, and aunts voices: don’t go too far, the ocean is strong. And the tales of the lives taken by the ocean, of families swept away.
Here brave toddlers venture in and a life guard sits serenely keeping watch. Here I am the only one in my shalwar kameez suit, while others wear skin baring swim suits. Here I have a smaller newer acquired family over 4 years, away from the usual big jing-bang that accompanies me to the beach.
This time, I am going to the beach not as a child with a big family, but as a mother of 2 and I am struck by how much work it is. I am struck by how much energy it takes to convince a 3 year old that the sand and ocean can be played in, and that the waves won’t listen when you tell them to stop. I am on guard watching a 9 month old crawl delightfully into the whisper of waves before I scoop her up, place her away from the ocean, only to repeat again a few seconds later.
I wonder how much work it was for my family to take us to the beach as children and am grateful they made the effort. To wring out sandy towels later, to rinse out muddy bathrooms tubs, to bathe sandy children. To make the long drive back home.
But then when I think about the reliable timelessness of the waves and the constant smoothening of the sand, I can’t help wanting to go to the beach. Again.
And when we return home after a quick night and day away, how much more welcoming home looks again. Carpets are vacuumable, milk buyable, beds comfortable, and home is homier. Again.
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what God has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason. (Quran 2:164)