Living near the beach is wonderful, the tang of salt air, the whisper of the gulls as they swoop down the street. But it also makes it a great place for many other people to visit. Finding your Zen on a crowded promenade is difficult.
Even in gale force winds the promenade can be crowded with walkers. As we heavily bundled walkers pass, we greet each other and the wind whips our clothing, while covering us from head to toe with sea spray.
By the time you have nodded to 20 or so people who are as equally determined to find their own space, the novelty of the wind runs sour.
So that's why anytime the tide is out is a great time for me. The lure of all that unblemished sand just waiting to mold my footprints, and the sea birds are much easier to greet.
Here, on the actual beach, past the railway tracks that mirror the surf, I can find the quiet that I love.
Keeping my eyes down, helps in the sea glass hunt, and when I wish to gaze meditatively I can do so across a great expanse of water.
Unfriendly? No. Just needing some down time, some Zen in my life. A refill, time with the wind, the tide, the surf, and myself.
And there are times when I like my company better than those sharp elbowed power walking, energizer bunnies on the promenade.