I love going to the beach. The vast and open shores give comfort in a way that I'm not yet able to capture in words.
'I feel complete' was the thought that crossed my mind as I searched for the source of this love for the beach.
My love for the beach has been a turbulent one. Some 16 years ago I nearly lost my life at the beach. That was my first near-death experience. The swallowing of vast amounts of sea water and the visions of death that flashed through my mind on that day gave birth to the fighting spirit within. Ironically, my love for the beach was re-affirmed on that day despite the difficult and challenging circumstances. Isn't it said that true love triumphs and manifests through the most trying of times?
Having spent part of my childhood in Soweto, the beach was an unexplored avenue. It became a gateway for my imagination to run wild- it still does today. The vastness of the sea mesmerized me, and my inability to swim was compensated by illusions of walking upon the sea like Christ. Imaginations of sea monsters and breathing under water without any machinery captured me. The hard reality though, entailed evading white people's dogs that terrorized me. Couldn't they read the signs that said dogs were not allowed?! My love for the beach still remains though, despite these dogs.
While I'm at it, perhaps the absence of black people at the beach, with the exception of major holidays, is related to the ever-present dogs. Hmmm.
I regularly carry a stick with me. 'It adds to your beach comber tendencies' a friend said. Little did she know that it's there to help fend off over-zealous dogs keen on biting more than they can chew.
Just the other day I was walking along the shore and happened to strike a conversation with an American woman who flattered me by suggesting that I have an accent. What a joke, I thought.
I love how relaxed I feel when I'm at the beach. The inner child gets really excited as I splash and dive at the breaking waves. I just wish more black people would join me when I'm there. Perhaps they'll witness a miracle as I eventually walk upon the waters.