I love the beach at Ogunquit, no more so than this past Saturday. This despite the more than two hours it took to make a one-hour journey. (Thanks, once again, to the state of New Hampshire for creating that wonderful backup at the Hampton tollbooths so you can collect ONE DOLLAR from me. This does NOT make me bullish on New Hampshire tourism. On the other hand, thanks to the nice town employee who helped us get the last available parking space in the public lot near the the little Ogunquit River bridge. That's civil service.)
When we finally hit our patch of sand, we were only about an hour from high tide. Fortunately, my observant hubby picked a patch of ground a little beyond the last visible high-tide mark--up near the rocks. It was so hot, and the water was SO COLD--colder than during our last visit, in late June. (It must be an ocean current thing.) The water was so frigid it actually hurt to stand in, yet the sun was beating down so hard that everyone was forced to choose between sun, water, sun, water. I chose sitting in a chair, reading a book (in which much of the action, coincidentally, takes place in a Maine summer colony), and occasionally dipping in the cold before retreating again, where I threw a towel over my legs to keep from becoming one of New England's last freshly made Krispy Kremes.
When the tide starting coming in, it came in fast. I looked up from my book and realized that the water was mere feet away. We pulled our blanket, shoes, and chairs back a couple of feet, then did the same for some sand-neighbors who had gone off for a swim. This continued for more than an hour, as the water got closer and closer to the rocks against the cement wall in front of the parking lot.
With a motto of "if you can't beat it, retreat from it," the multitudes took flight. Well, they moved their stuff. It was comical to see hundreds of bathers madly pulling their gear back, until we were all crowded into a long, narrow strip of unsoaked sand, leaving barely room to walk among the blankets, umbrellas, chairs, coolers, towels, and baby gear.
My husband and I strolled along the shoreline, trying to find if their were warmer pockets of water (nope) and if everyone was making the mad scramble for dry patches of sand (yup). Up and down the beach, a sort of cameraderie grew as we all waited for the turning of the tide, sharing space, making jokes, shaking our heads at wet towels and soaked shoes.
One group of kids decided they'd had enough and went on the offensive. Their battlement, made of a sandwall high enough (and far enough back) to fend off the encroaching waves stood, proudly, emblazoned with "Big Dig 2006."
Time and tide wait for no man. Instead, they make memories for all of us.