You can hide in the shade of a blue umbrella on the soft sand. You can lie back on the oversized towel that’s been through too many washings and listen to the laughing and the crashing and the crying of gulls.
Or you can take the small hand that has offered itself to you. Race tiny feet to the place where the sand cools and becomes solid before it is taken in smooth sheets by water that feels more like ice. You can marvel at the small, warm body that races toward the waves that tower in the distance. You can call over the crash, “Not too deep! Not too deep!”
You can stand, arms outstretched to receive the now chilled flesh, squealing with delight. Lift it to your chest. Breathe the sunscreen and salt. Feel the grit of loose sand on small fingers that clasp themselves around your neck. Let yourself be rocked by the passing waves, toes tickled by bubbles that burst in the sunshine.
You can repeat this exercise. Releasing the body to the water. Lifting it high when it returns. Tumbling, laughing. Until the water is warm and the sun has shifted low and it is time to return to the soft sand and the overwashed towels.
You can take it with you. The trust of the small body that held itself to you against the tide. Grasped you, koala-like, as though you were the great tree from which it feeds. The warmth of flesh on flesh. The soft sand that you will find between your toes a physical marker of this memory.
Take it with you.
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Want to make your own? This is an upsized version of Mariska Vos-Bolman’s cute koala amigurumi pattern.