We all know that the ocean has an ebb and flow. The tide comes in, the tide goes out. Simple stuff. What we don’t look at is that the beach has a similar ebb and flow. Of people.

Every Sunday, weather cooperating, I head to a local public access beach. I pack up my coffee, a cigar, sunscreen, and chair and head out. I try to get there early…around 8am because there is a routine that seems to be followed on the shore. And it goes something like this:

The earliest beach visitors are the runners, the shell hunters, and the paddle boarders. Next come the sun worshippers, and the singles. We sit and take in the beauty of the ocean. We watch the birds, and at times we are lucky enough to see a few dolphin feeding.

Next come the families with their tents, gazebos, and toys. TheseĀ are my favorite folks. I love hearing the kids chatter, and squeals as they play in the surf. Balm for the soul.

The next group that starts showing up are the couples. Young and old. Looking for that perfect spot, setting up their umbrellas and chairs, along with talking on their phones.

Phones, phones, and more phones. Not to mention the music. The last group that shows up, usually after their family has set up on the perfect spot, are the teens. And then the peace of the beach is broken. Competing music, shouts, incredibly loud talking and commotion comes with the teens.

And that is my cue to leave.

In the evening it happens pretty much the same. The families leave first, then the couples, and lastly the teens. And once again calm reigns. Waiting for the next day.

Ebb and flow.