Walking the Winter Beach, Redux

This post was originally written in March, 2017 for the Maine Crime Writers blog.  I re-posted it on MCW on January 18, 2019, when Maine was bracing for this weekend’s big storm. I moved it over here today because it is so timely. If you’re inspired to head out on a beach walk of your own, don’t forget to pull on your long johns, grab your thickest mittens and maybe even bring along a facemask for the half of the walk when-inevitably-you’ll be marching into the wind’s sharp teeth. Enjoy!

by Brenda Buchanan

Sunday afternoons lend themselves to rituals.

Leisurely drives to who knows where. Gathering around the table for dinner with family and friends. Kicking back with the Sunday papers, funnies and all, at least at my house, where we’ve never stopped immersing ourselves in newsprint. Joe Gale and his real-life counterparts (including three generations of Millikens) are our heroes.

Our central ritual is the Sunday afternoon beach walk, which happens year-round but is especially wonderful in the winter. There’s nothing like a bundled-up exploration of what the tide has wrought to re-charge a girl for the week ahead.

For readers of this blog who don’t live near enough to a Maine beach to walk regularly in the cold-weather months, here are some favorite photos to get you through until spring.

Some weeks the beach is drenched in sunshine.

And sometimes skies are gray.

More frequently than you might believe, the weather changes in the course of our walk.

Last Sunday the wind was howling at Pine Point Beach, transforming the waves into wild ponies.

Yesterday I found this lobster trap, marooned in the dunes.

Sometimes we’re entertained by intrepid surfers.















And sometimes we entertain ourselves.

No two weeks are the same, on the beach as in life.

I can’t say I’m ever bored when propelling myself through the wind along the wrack line. When I can’t sleep, I sometimes try to conjure the sound of the waves hitting the shore, especially the winter beach, when stones tumble against each other at the verge, tapping in a rhythm that soothes my soul.

We typically stick close to home—Scarborough and Ferry beaches near Prout’s Neck, Pine Point when the wind and tide are right, Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth when we want to approach the shore from the woods.

Occasionally we wander up the coast to Popham or Reid State Park.

Something always provides a nudge of inspiration for a story.

Do you have Sunday rituals? Or favorite beaches?

Brenda Buchanan is the author of the Joe Gale Mystery Series, featuring a diehard Maine newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. Three books—QUICK PIVOT, COVER STORY and TRUTH BEAT—are available wherever ebooks are sold.

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