Most kids are lucky because they have a yard to play in. It might have had a tree or two to climb and pretend with. Me? I was lucky because my yard was the ocean.
I grew up in front of the sea. I grew incresingly darker by suntans each year until I was about eleven, for I spent my days snorkeling and playing underwater. And being afraid of sea weeds, which I’m still not friends with.
I particularly remember one summer; my father had his boat in our hometown (which only happened that one summer) and we would wake up early, have breakfast in our swimsuits and then walk to one side of the beach, the one closer to our home, and swim something like forty minutes to an hour to where the boat was.
I spent the day in the water, searching for lost treasures that included money (I found $50 one day. I was so rich. And I earn them too, I had to go down -about 15 feet deep- a couple of times to get all the bills.), jewelry and fishes of course. When the sun began going down I would stay among the dunes, where the water was four to five feet deep and pretend I was a mermaid. I played underwater so often that I could literally sit there in the sand, or lay down, commanding all kinds of places in my imaginary mermaid castle for ridiculous periods of time. I loved to just be still and curl up against a dune long enough that fishes would come close. My mother hated it when I did that, she freaked out calling my name more often than she’d like to admit because she got worried when I didn’t came out to breathe.
I didn’t care about her nagging me to stop playing and come out, playing mermaid was one of my favorite things and underwater everything was so quite and calm, the water was so warm and I; I was home.
This was as close as I’ve been to playing in the ocean in over a year, it wasn’t all day and I couldn’t play mermaid; but it was still home. Home is enough.