Sunday, April 29, 2012


POINT PLEASANT, NEW JERSEY -  Every since I can recall, I have found the beach to be my place of solace.  I am not particularly fond of scorching sands littered with bathing beauties and screaming children splashing about and kicking up sand under the unforgiving heat of the summer sun, but I am a tremendous fan of the beach when abandoned... particularly in the fall, mid winter, and late spring.  Growing up in suburban New Jersey, where the beaches are free only in the off season (Labor Day - Memorial Day), I learned quickly the best times of the year to dig my toes into the sand, do a few cartwheels, and listen to the ocean as I sipped Dunkin Donuts and read a work of literature.  Any time anything went wrong in my life, my immediate reaction was to flee to the coastline and watch the waves crash gently into my ankles before retreating back from whence they came.  I was born a fire sign and not particularly a fan of water, but the ocean and I, we find balance in the company of one another.  We find peace.

Slightly stir-crazy and uncomfortably sick of staying in with the same old to-do, I grabbed a friend and hauled the two of us and a box full of Pizza Hut down the Garden State Parkway.  We made fantastic time for a Thursday afternoon and settled in just fine... minus the bitter cold wind making me retreat into my hooded jacket.  We buried the corners of the blanket in my natural default spot at Point Pleasant Beach, a place my mother and Gram used to take me on alternate Tuesdays for "Wristband Day" as a child, and I set out on a quest for the perfect spot to practice forearm balances.

I will say, if you ever need a place to practice inversions and don't mind kicking sand into your own face, the beach would be it.  I will warn you in advance, however, to be wary of doing headstands where the sand slopes for fear of damaging your neck if you fall... but other than that, you are pretty good to go.  I will also warn  you that "tuck and roll" is not really an option on the sand, it's pretty much do or die (land or flop) but at least the sand is soft enough to catch you without too much pain.  I learned this lesson very well while practicing forearm balances... perhaps I will show you the video footage of that sometime... once I edit out all my commentary.

Once I'd had my fill of inverting myself until I generated enough heat to no longer fear the cold air on my skin, I quite literally flung myself downhill toward the rolling waves to test out the water for the first time this year.  The initial crash was cold, as always, but the water seems warmer than years past.  I am not sure what it is, but it was relatively comfortable for the Atlantic mid-April.  Not that I'm complaining  or anything, it was actually a fantastic excuse to splash around up to my thighs before the goosebumps took over every inch of me.  That's when I knew it was time to head home.

The beach and I have become great friends over the years... and have become a fond place of learning my various skills... from skeeball to hooping to cartwheels and yoga... the beach and I have bonded time and time again.

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