Looking for more in Your Stories?

Beach life, beach future

Author: Sally Walsh
Year: Future

If the goddess of sunny days exists, I would have been the first human being who would lay a million little daisy flowers on her feet. But whatever Gods hold the power of weather, Sky Gods, Zeus or Hera, I thanked them all because of one summer day. No clouds in the sky, just one big yellow star! We packed our bags, my daughter and I, for a beach picnic nearby. We lived along the coast and right on our doorstep is a small stretch of beach. It has been some time that we have had decent weather so I thanked the goddess of sunny days, despite my daughter correcting me that she doesn't exist.

We arrived at the beach with a few sunbathers dotted around. The sea breeze was mild and soothing to the skin. We found part of the beach that was an enclave where we laid out our picnic mat. It was a perfect sight that if I have a smartphone, I could have taken a selfie. But this is 2003, and my Nokia handphone has no camera. The sea was calm and so blue like being in the tropics, almost forgetting that we're in Scotland. We approached the seashore, it was low tide, and the waves slightly touched our feet. My daughter started swimming away while I remained at the shore. I had my sunglasses on but clear enough to keep an eye on my daughter. I lay there for a good few minutes and sat up. My daughter was swimming to the shore and back to the water, singing a little mermaid song at the top of her voice.

I reminded my daughter that mermaids don't exist. As she swam away, feeling annoyed, I think I have ruined her fantasy world. My inner child in me was glad to break even. But my laughter was halted when I noticed something sparkling in the water. I was alarmed. Sometimes your imagination can run away with you. What could it be? Mermaid? But my logical mind was far more powerful than the story of myth and thought of jellyfish instead. I called my daughter to come back, and I carefully walked through the water, it was shallow, and to my surprise I discovered that the sparkling thing was a supermarket trolley, stuck on the sands.

This perfect day slowly turned into a catastrophe. As I tried to pull it out the sands, I felt annoyed by whoever had put this trolley here. We dragged it out of the water, far away from the shore. It was all rusty, and I was afraid it could be dangerous left there like that, so I decided I would push it back to the hardware shop nearby. It was theirs after all. As we ate our picnic lunch, I started to lose my appetite as I became aware of the litter around us. I didn’t noticed them before. It seems that I had some sort of eureka, a discovery.

I haven't given much attention to the environment. I have this notion that the natural world would take care of itself. But since that day at the beach, I couldn't help noticing litters whenever I was out. I started watching documentaries about the effect of litter to marine lives and other animals. It was disheartening and the realisation of the state of our planet affected me. I found out that there are many environmentalists, individuals, people and organisations campaigning about the problems on litter. So, I joined them. I have had some information on how to organise a community clean-up, so I contacted the local council and applied to organise a beach clean-up. Visited our local newspaper office to write an article asking volunteers to join us for a beach community clean-up and the rest is history.

In 2004, I founded the Seafield Environmental Group. A group of people who cares about the environment, particularly the Seafield beach. It was all the efforts of the volunteers and the support of private and public agencies that made a big difference to our local beach. There is so much one can do when the many give their support to the common good. If every one of us takes the courage to change the status quo because of the harm being caused to our environment, our planet, we should no longer hesitate to take the stand. In our little ways, we can all make a big difference.

Seafield beach may not be grand compared to other beaches in the world, but this is our beach and the beach for the next generation. It symbolises the community's collaboration. Whenever I visit the Seafield beach, my heart lightens. Here, I saw the very best in people, giving up their precious time, to community volunteering. I haven't met anyone who doesn't want to be at the beach. So, if you asked me what the future is. The future is the beach because the beach is life. For me, that is the meaning of the future.

One summer day, no clouds in the sky, just one big yellow star! We were at the beach, my granddaughter and I, we found an enclave part of the beach, and as we sat down on our picnic mat, she handed me a bunch of little daisies for the goddess of sunny days. I took a 360* panoramic shot on my mobile phone and made a video too. We approached the seashore. I sat down while my granddaughter swam away and back to the shore, singing her favourite song part of your world from the little mermaid. I noticed something sparkling in the water, and said to her, there it was.

What my granddaughter saw was a floating device that collects marine litters. For now, let her believe in mermaids because if she cares enough for them, she'll care for the rest of marine lives and the planet when she gets a little older.