Circles In The Sand

by Northern Life

Woman visits her childhood beach, bringing feelings of nostalgia.

The ripples on the sand looked exactly the same, the sea water felt just as cold and the breeze wrestled with her hair just the way it used to, though there was a lot more grey than auburn in her hair than there used to be.

Evelyn had come home, back to the wide open beach where she had spent so many carefree childhood summers. Endless days of sunshine, donkey rides and building sandcastles, picnics and dipping into rock pools with a little net on a long stick.

She smiled to herself as she remembered those picnics. In her mind’s eye,she could still see her mother in a spotted headscarf, sitting on a tartan picnic blanket, pouring tea from a small brown teapot into a china cup, no plastic here thank you very much! Hard boiled eggs and tomato sandwiches, with salt in a twist of paper, mixed with the inevitable grains of sand. The only toilets were back across the beach and over the road, and there was what seemed like an endless trek to buy an ice cream. It was all so fresh in her mind, like yesterday instead of over 40 years ago.

It was strange to see the beach so deserted, but then summer was almost over and this warm, sunny October afternoon was an unexpected gift that she was grateful for.

Lost in nostalgia Evelyn sifted through treasures left behind by others

Evelyn closed her eyes, letting the sounds of the ocean and the memories wash over her in equal measure, taking her back to a time when life seemed so simple yet so full of wonder. A time when she believed in magic and that anything was possible.

She opened her eyes and began to meander along the shoreline, enjoying the sensation of wet sand beneath her feet and the tickle of the waves washing over her toes. Each step she took revealed a memory of her past self. Evie the fearless explorer, the curious child eager to discover the secrets of the ocean and beyond.

As she strolled further along the beach, Evelyn held her breath in anticipation, would they still be there? She didn’t expect they would be…..

Yes! Four weather-beaten beach huts leaned drunkenly as if holding each other up and her heart missed a beat. She stopped by the first of the huts, laid her hand on the wooden door and gently pushed. It opened with a groan, the hinges protesting at being disturbed after all this time.

She peered inside, nervous at what she might find, but apart from the odd beer can, it wasn’t as bad as she had expected. She stepped cautiously through the doorway. The past echoed within the worn walls of the hut. Memories of laughter and joy, wet, sandy towels and games of snap on rainy days overwhelmed her. She felt the hot prickle of tears at the loss of innocence and childhood pleasures.

her heart filled with determination and resolve.

Flickering sunlight filtered through the cracks in the walls and cast a warm glow on the sand covered floor. Lost in nostalgia Evelyn sifted through treasures left behind by others, and yet so familiar. Faded seashells, a worn out plastic bucket without a spade and tattered kite strings each whispered their own story, her story.

Suddenly the freshening breeze swirled around her feet, carrying the smell of the ocean and fragments of memories that she thought she had buried long ago. Here she had brought her collection of shells, sorting them into size and colour. Here she had studied picture books about the sea and the creatures that lived in it. The ocean had held such a fascination for her as a child. Where had it all gone? She picked up a shell from the floor, holding it in her hand, tracing the shape of it with her fingers.

Evelyn felt a surge of emotions flooding through her, a sense of yearning for the carefree spirit she had lost along the way. In that moment of introspection, she realised that she had come full circle and that where she went from here was up to her and her alone. All at once she knew that she was ready for a journey of self- discovery to find once again, the wonder and adventure that had been buried beneath layers of adult responsibilities and expectations of others. The tide had turned.

With a newfound sense of purpose, Evelyn emerged from the beach hut, her heart filled with determination and resolve. As she watched the sun begin to dip towards the horizon, she whispered a promise to her inner child, a promise to embrace her true self, to chase her dreams and never to lose sight of the magic that had always been within her.

As the waves gently kissed the shore, gradually washing away the long line of her footprints, Evelyn was certain that her journey had only just begun.