Maine Observer: Learning to love the sounds of a misty beach

The pandemic has taken away a lot of things. I think the biggest loss was mingling with tourists in the spring and early summer. A few days ago on a rather foggy morning I was walking on Long Sands beach and overheard a couple wondering what they could do on a foggy, wet day at the beach. They seemed saddened that their vacation would be cut short by what they considered to be bad weather.

I interrupted their conversation by stating that they were very lucky to have taken a vacation when there was coastal fog. I think they were from a midwestern state because they had a funny accent. The couple took me to task asking me what they could do. Since I was in the mood to talk like an old “Downeaster”, I told them a favorite story from the coast.

Arrive here very early in the morning just before the sun rises from the horizon. Find where the water meets the shore and follow its sound and smell. It might be a little wet, but don’t be afraid to get a little wet. Remember you’re on the coast of Maine and you’re supposed to get a little wet.

Now take a walk on the beach and listen to the music of the coast. The ocean has a totally different sound early in the morning, especially in the fog. The dense atmosphere makes everything resonate. The water hitting the sand sounds like heavy blankets rolled up by grateful people in the dead of winter. This sound tends to get a little chilly, but it’s a good kind of thrill.

Your footsteps sound different on the sand of a misty morning. They resonate like the sound of forest leaves fighting for space during a summer storm.

When you reach the parts of the beach that have rocks, you will hear the sound of conversations between what always was and hopefully always will be. The biggest boulders scream their song in total unison with the pounding of the waves. However, the sound I enjoy the most is the little pebbles laughing as the ocean tickles them again and again. It’s their time on the beach. We are only allowed to listen.

Gulls are seen on a misty beach quietly biding their time when the sun burns away the fog and people return to feed and play with them again. We see them in small and large groups seeming to pray to the ocean that gave them life.

At that time, I was either scaring these people or interesting them with my story. However, it was soon time for me to move on. I said goodbye to my two new friends and started down the sand.

As I was leaving I heard the man call me and ask if they would see me on the beach tomorrow morning. I turned around, smiled and told him they probably would.

— Special at Telegram


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Sandy A. Greer