Weekend's 2005 Beach Guide
Whatever there is about the beach that we love -- and whether by "beach" we mean bay or backwater, resort or refuge, carnival lightscape or endless horizon -- it restoreth our souls summer after summer. From the harsh accusation of a gull to the tinny distortion of boombox rock, from the sibilant recitation of the surf to the mechanical cacophony of the arcade, it's music to our ears. The sour-salty air, the rich rot smell of broken shells and sand, beer and bay seasoning, coconut oil and caramel popcorn -- the parfumerie of indulgence. That first look down the length of the boardwalk, the black line of trees between sunset-fired sky and swamp, the dun bulk of a wild pony in the scrub or a heron's pose in a field of reeds . . . the moment is unique, but it moves all of us just the same. Weightless in water or bellies full of barbecue, solitary on the shore or elbow to umbrella, we are in our element.