Friday, August 12, 2005

Top ten reasons why it is so a beach!

I'm home, briefly, then I'm heading out of town for a wedding. I'll be back late Sunday. Until my return, I offer more foolishness for your idle amusement.

This is a response to an amusing post on Jack's blog, in which Jack argued that freshwater beaches are not beaches:
The Shmata Queen and I have an ongoing debate about whether she grew up near The beach. The premise is based upon the misguided belief that a Great Lake constitutes a beach.

Technically I suppose that you could try and make the case that a lake offers a beach.

n. beach (bēch):

  1. The shore of a body of water, especially when sandy or pebbly.

  2. The sand or pebbles on a shore.

  3. The zone above the water line at a shore of a body of water, marked by an accumulation of sand, stone, or gravel that has been deposited by the tide or waves.

I'd disagree with this and say that you can claim waterfront property, but a real beach needs the ocean. A real beach has sand that is created by the pounding of the Saltwater waves and not those of a sinking ship (Edmund Fitzgerald).
I didn't respond to Jack's post at the time, but I have just returned from three nights of camping on one of the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario). I offer the following

Top Ten Reasons Why It Is So A Beach:

10. Vast quantities of water:
From my vantage point on the Ontario shore, you could theoretically look across at the state of New York on the other side of the lake. But in practice you run into a small difficulty:  the curvature of the earth. Lake Ontario is that big:  it is not to be mistaken for your neighbour's backyard pool.

9. Sun-baked sand:

Sandbanks Provincial Park comes by its name honestly. The sand is baked by the sun until it is bright white in colour, and uncomfortably hot under one's bare feet.

8. Beach that goes on for miles:

The picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea. I repeat, no one should think we're talking about a backyard pool.

7. Tides and waves:
The Great Lakes are large enough to have tides. As for the waves, I concede that you can't surf on them, but they are plenty large enough to entertain swimmers who rise and fall on the swells. (Or to exacerbate the fear of someone who, like me, is always a little anxious in the water.)

6. Beach activities:
Sun bathing, swimming, building sand castles, teenagers flirting with one another, and naked toddlers enjoying the sensation of the waves rushing up their pudgy legs — all the traditional beach activites are represented here. Even kite flying:

5. "Sea" weed and deceased wildlife:
Two ever-popular beach attractions! One of my daughters scooped up a fistful of weeds and plunked them on her head:  voila, an instant transformation into Ursula the evil sea witch.

On another occasion, my children complained about the dead carp littering the shoreline. I saw one of them, with its empty eye socket glaring balefully in the general direction of its Creator, and a sea gull impatiently standing by, waiting for the people to clear out so it could do a little snacking.

4. Sun worshipers as far as the eye can see:
Sandbanks attracts crowds! Hundreds of people in the water, on the beach, and coming and going from the parking lot.

3. Jack's dictionary definition:
Let's not forget, Jack provided a dictionary definition that plainly showed he was wrong. (This is no mere technicality, Jack!) The other items on my Top Ten list are mere window dressing — the matter was decided at the outset.

And the top two reasons
why it is so a beach:

Because there's more to life than books, you know.


At 12:33 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Jack's Shack said...


Lake people can call it a beach all they want but it doesn't make it a real beach.

There is no smell like the sea air. You can always tell when you have spent hours in the ocean as the after effect makes your legs feel as if they are still being pulled upon.

There are no riptides and a lack of so many other necessities. But I don't want to ruin the fun for others, so if it makes you happy call it a beach and I'll call it a small lake. ;)

At 3:44 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

Beach ! Lake ! Beach! Lake !

Whatever, its cold water and its hot here so which way to the Lake/Beach !

At 3:45 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

ps. I hope you asked when you took the last photo. (-:

At 5:57 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Carolyn said...


I was concerned about consent for that last photo as well.

Having grown up in Iowa and currently living within 2 miles of the beach...I mean shoreline...of the Mississippi, anytime there's relatively clean water, a generally fresh smelling breeze, and water sports...that's a beach (of course, I feel a little bad weighing in since I just got back from the DEFINITE beaches of Jamaica).

At 6:22 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger 49erDweet said...

Excellent points, btw.

Anytime you are on your way home from playing near water and the kids leave piles of sand on your carpets, floorboards and seats, face it - it was a 'beach'.

'Nuff said.

At 8:55 PM, August 14, 2005, Blogger michael said...

Who cares what the air smells like, if it is sandy and water (any type of water meats it) than it probably is a beach.

If you can build sand castles, then it must be a beach.

A beach is a beach is a beach no matter what the smell.

At 10:54 PM, August 14, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

You know, Jack is right that there is something unique about an ocean beach. For me, though, it's nothing so tangible as the smell of the salt. No, it's a sense of possibility, a sense that springs, perhaps, from knowing that on the other side of that huge, untamed ocean is a whole different continent, culture, life. There's a wildness and a freedom to an ocean beach that a lake lacks. (But domestic though it may be, that strip that borders a lake is indeed a beach!)

At 9:11 AM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

Jack's definition clearly equates "beach" with the shore: the sand or pebbles next to a body of water. Whether the water is salt or fresh can't enter into the equation at all because the beach is the zone above the water line.

A beach on the ocean may be the best of all conceivable beaches, but it definitely isn't the only kind of beach.

At 9:57 AM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

yawn.... more babes in bikinis please.



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