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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)

TITLE: Grand Beach
By Helga Doermer


A national treasure awaits discovery on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg. It is one of the ten most popular beaches in North America. The popularity of Grand Beach is due to one of its most outstanding features - a mile and a half of fine white sand dunes left behind by retreating glaciers. The pale satin residue, stretching into the shallow waters is a very popular summertime playground. Every age finds a comfortable niche: whether children playing hide-n-go seek in the undulating hills; families picnicking on a peak; or loverís nestling in a warm hollow.

Along the wide beach, children built sand castles and splash in the bathtub warm waters.
Parents lounge in lawn chairs beneath their umbrellas. Singles and couples saunter the length of the inviting shore. Swimmers and Frisbee players weave around each other. Sailboats and surfboards dot the horizon. For years, it was an annual meeting place for our extended family. A bittersweet memory of our last gathering lingers there.

Energy ran high as our five families met to celebrate my dadís birthday, and the heat of a day in July. (We wait for days like this all winter as we shiver in our thick wooly sweaters.) As the sun rose to mid morning, a tumble of people, blankets, beach towels, sun screen bottles, picnic baskets, coolers and water toys piled onto the shore. The kids were excited about boating and skiing. The adults were happy to catch up on each others lives.

By late afternoon, I was ready for a time of quiet. Knowing my mother would also enjoy a brief hiatus of calm, I invited her to join me for a walk. We left our festive families to wander for a while. Walking the beach, cool waters rippled across our feet and warm sun cascaded over our near naked bodies. The breeze of a cooling wind whispered across our skin. We idled in conversation. As we spoke of our responsibilities as women, wives and mothers, I became aware of subtle shift in the nuance of our exchange. Until that day, I had thought of myself as offspring relating to the woman who had birthed me and nurtured me with her love. Our relationship had been that of mother and mentor supporting a daughter. Yet on that day, as we walked the beach, the distance between us diminished. Before we rejoined our families again, I recognized that the woman beside me was not only my mother but also a close friend.

The memory is bittersweet. For now when I pace the fine stretch of sand under the burning sun, it is with an aching awareness. There will be no next summer to share with my mother. Even as our relationship blossomed into friendship and I anticipated many more walks together, she departed from this world before summer came again.

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This article has been read 818 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W07/11/05
The last two paragraphs were wonderful, the best part of the whole story. The first paragraph could be softened to match the end and you have a wonderful essay.
Shari Armstrong 07/11/05
Wonderful descriptions. I'm sure it's hard not having had her with you longer, but it was a blessing to have her in your life.
Nina Phillips07/11/05
I agree with the National treasure. I'm sure you found that unique area of the tie that binds a blessed relationship between mother and daughter as you walked along. A lovely memory. I get your point. God bless ya, littlelight
Val Clark07/12/05
You got me in. At first I thought I was reading a travelogue. Bitter sweet memories well told.
Suzanne R07/14/05
Beautiful. Apart from the content, which was touching, you have a lovely way of putting things too e.g. 'a tumble of .....' etc. Well done.
Beth Muehlhausen07/14/05
I was so ready to march right down to a travel agent....then the wonderful shift to family fun....then the poignant ending. What a gripper.
Maxx .07/15/05
very touching. What a nice memory. Well crafted.