The Beach

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

They call this place Ocean Beach, perhaps because both take up most of the view. The sky is hard to truly make out, with only a faint line separating two sweeping blue canvases, each in many ways a reflection of the other.

It’s late afternoon and I survey a landscape littered with remnants of the day; footprints of different sizes head off in all directions, whilst sand castles – built to ensure restless parents could enjoy some peace and quiet – are slowly returned to the sea.

I find a place to sit in one of the few areas that hasn’t succumbed to the rapidly encroaching shade. Removing my shoes lets me press the soles of my feet into the cooling sand. Millions of particles escape this human disturbance, before returning to cover my shins. I start pushing each leg forward in rapid succession. I’ve become a machine for excavation in this vast sandbox, powered by a child-like wonder to see how much earth I can shift.

I’m distracted from this pointless pursuit by a familiar scent; one likely the reason for the laughter and frivolity coming from the dunes behind me. The barbecue aroma is a signature smell of summer, and it’s one that aims straight for my stomach. All I can think of now is dinner.

Before I go, there’s one final task to perform; to dip my feet into the ocean. As I run towards it, the dry soft powder below soon transforms into a harder water-logged substance. My feet leave clear impressions, yet these cruelly disappear after just a few moments. So too do I, after this brief moment by the sea.


This was my response to a short assignment given on the creative writing course I’m undertaking. Although entitled ‘Ocean Beach’, it’s really an amalgamation of many different beach memories. The image however is of Ocean Beach, taken last November.