With the sun setting down on Southerndown

I am reminded that we are a family who have been lucky enough to rock up and wake up to many beaches in the world over the years. This year has been very different for an obvious reason, so waking up on my birthday with landlocked feelings, I knew we had to go.

We met my parents there, the first outing with them in nearly a year, and they themselves had not seen the sea since 2019. It never ceases to amaze me how we all gravitate to the shoreline when arriving there. It’s like an affirmation that your ‘lost at sea’ thoughts and ideas will become more of a reality the closer you get to that edge. Or is this an ocean’s metaphor… our thoughts are as unique and real as each of the waves that roll in? 

I’ve never been so drawn as I was this day, to the dynamics of people and their lifestyles across the generations, using and playing on this great expanse of space. I was particularly drawn to the wild swimmers. This tribe, so full of exhilaration, freezing limbs and wild-eyed as they came out of the water.

Then the irony of standing at the foot of glorious jurassic cliff faces that meet sandy beach, and experiencing nature’s own million+ year earth-ology joining up with modern-day smartphone technology, as we FaceTime the other set of grandparents and walk them down to the sea. The gasps of joy and wonder coming through a six-inch screen surely has to be the next best thing to being there for them.

Southerndown Beach in South Wales is a well-trodden sanctuary for us, from over the years and we’re lucky to live as equally close to here as we do the Brecon Beacons. But it was this trip that it opened my eyes further to the hold this coastline has, with its ever-changing energy, so many people. My birthday calling to the sea.

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from A Gift from the Sea.
Welcome to our Coast to Coast loop. We are a group of photographers from around the world, from timezones as far flung as Australia to Canada and in between, each with a different seascape. Coast to Coast aims to document our changing sea views and perspectives – both literal and philosophical – of what the sea means to us, month to month through the changing seasons. To follow the loop go next to the talented Bex Maini 

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