The light reaches the country. It does, it must, but we never saw the sun in Aberystwyth Wales.
To be fair to Wales, as well as to the sun’s capacity to shine in all places at least some of the time, we had but one night and two days in the mythical land immediately to the left of the midlands and southern-as-far-as-London England.
One night. Two days. All wet.
Walks on the beach before the world restarts, maybe with taut leash or hot coffee cup in hand, usually conjure up, and taking the trek with any luck will usually deliver, a pleasant five sense assault similar to this:
- cool fine quartz sand between toes
- sound of water lapping against the shore
- gentle heat from a rising sun
- wafting scent of sea salt
- a horizon on which to dream upon
Exactly none of that describes the beach as we experienced it in Aberystwyth Wales.
As we tied shoes and zipped jackets, moving from bedroom to kitchen and back again, we took bites of thick, roughly cut slices of the nutty local bread provided for us in a wicker basket upon check-in and took sips of pulpy fruit juice from small colorful glasses. Using our hands as plates the way one does when rushing off to work, we smeared the bread with chilled Irish butter, sending crumbs down onto the tile counter top.
After breakfast we marched down three flights of stairs in single file.
To the naked eye, to the casual observer as we emerged from the street level vestibule, we might have passed for a traveling party heading north to scale a Snowdonia summit. Here we were though off to the beach in Aberystwyth Wales, where the sun certainly does shine but not on this day.
Wearing inappropriate footwear and with socks quickly soaked, we crossed from the curvature of pastel hued three story rowhomes over to the shoreline of the Irish Sea.
Instead of sun and sand and surf, we were greeted by a 1 degree Celsius morning and by cruel coastal winds less forgiving than a private school headmistress. My family walked the beach because we were eager to do so from checking into the pale yellow beachfront apartment the night prior.
Walking the beach is what you do when you spend a night along a beach — weather be damned.
But there were those rocks, miniature UFOs, jet black, shiny and smooth, from South Marine Terrace to the rugged edge of the Irish Sea, and as far as the eye could see up and down the Welsh coastline.
My two daughters didn’t need the sand or warmth from the sun. They had piles upon piles of rocks.
Kids tend to be adaptable in ways many adults are no longer, both at home and while traveling in far away lands.
Children are capable of seeking out, and most importantly they are willing to try to find, the joy waiting like a friendly ghost in the dark grey winds of a Welsh beach holiday gone awry.
They built and pretended and laughed and sent out countless beams of light and warmth to all who were willing to endure the conditions in Aberystwyth Wales on that day in order to watch and listen as two kids transformed a less than ideal morning at the beach into an idyllic memory.