Memories: Lost On Bar Beach…
“In every out thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” Rachel Carson
I was recently reminded of a childhood memory when I read about how children get lost in a moment of playful curiosity… When we were quite young, my parents and my siblings were visiting Nigeria for the first time after some years spent in England. It was an exciting visit to the homeland and our extended family was eager to show us around Lagos; our port of entry. A few cousins collected my brother, sister and me, and took us to the popular beach in Lagos; known as Bar Beach.
Lagos Bar Beach, also known as Victoria Beach, is the most popular beach in Nigeria. The main beach on Victoria Island is located along Ahmadu Bello Way opposite the Federal Guest House. It is usually crowded on public holidays.
We had a wonderful time playing in the sand, listening to music, eating new and tasty fruits and treats, and enjoying a variety of colorful and entertaining cultural dances and celebrations that were typical of the beach in those days. It was quite crowded, but because there were lots of families and friendly people milling around, cooking, eating, dancing, and performing tricks and games, we were on cloud nine and happy as clams. Soon, my sister and I decided to explore the beach together as we wandered off, sand buckets and plastic spades in hand, scooping up odd looking seashells as we walked along the length of the beach.
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choice-less as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
We were quite lost in the reverie of our adventure that by the time we stopped to consider where we were, we were quite a distance from our cousins and not sure how to get back. The beach was not only long but wide, and people and groups dotted the landscape, covering every bit of sand. First, we acted as if we knew where we were going, but as we walked along and didn’t see a familiar face, we panicked. Soon, we were holding hands and sobbing quietly because we were lost. It felt like the longest walk of my life and the memory I recall is of feeling quite lost in a sea of bodies and crashing waves… We attracted some attention from a few kind souls who guided us to an information shack at a midway point.
“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” Henry Beston
The information booth attendant had a bullhorn and proceeded to announce on the beach that two children needed their parents or something to that effect. I suspect that the message was carried down to the rest of the beach because, a short time later, our cousins found their way to us. They had been in a panic too when they no longer saw us and were searching frantically all over the beach for us. They were concerned that we might have drowned or been taken, but our wandering was our fault. We gathered our things and trucked back to our home; not a peep uttered to my parents; especially not to my mother who would have been besides herself…
Maggie and Millie and Molly and May
Maggie and Millie and Molly and May
went down to the beach (to play one day
and Maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and
Millie befriended a stranded star
who’s rays five languid fingers were;
and Molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
E. E. Cummings
We learned our lesson and never wandered off like that again, but it remains one of my shared childhood memories of a time when I was frightened that I might not find my way home… What are your thoughts? Have you ever gotten lost somewhere as a child? How did you find your way home? Why has it stayed with you? Do share! Thank you. ;-)
Positive Motivation Tip: Enjoy your outings but pay attention to your surroundings…
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