And that’s the thing about the seashore. The water washes away evidence of previous visitors. When there‘s no one around, the wide horizons seem to go on to infinity, emphasising the fact that, for a while at least, you really are alone in the face of nature. This can make you feel isolated and insignificant but, as Ana says, it also has a positive side. It's the difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
In their book The Handbook of Solitude, Robert J. Coplan and Julie C. Bowker suggest that solitude can be highly therapeutic, improving self-esteem and clarity. Maybe that’s why so many of us seek out the beach when we need a break from our daily lives.
For generations hermits and scholars from every culture have sought to escape worldly distractions, in pursuit of the freedom to follow their thoughts wherever they may lead. And the beach is also useful metaphor for that experience, as Isaac Newton so poetically put it: