It's only natural: metaphors at the beach

Nature has a way of making everything in its power symbolic of something or other. Here’s a selection of potential metaphors I collected from Bridlington beach – free to a good home.

  • Clumps of ruined sandcastles that once stood proud and tall
  • Jagged fragments of mussel shells that’ll scratch you if you don’t watch out
  • The tide that already looks distant is retreating even further
  • The UV rays you don’t feel because of the breeze, which doesn’t make them any less harmful
  • Lines drawn in the sand that become less defined with time, replaced with natural grooves that no one can affect or influence
  • If you hold sand too tightly it slips between your fingers
  • Each individually brilliant grain of it looking generally the same in the company of many others
  • Seagulls swooping for anything neglected, which their numbers suggest they always find
  • Flags flapping so violently you can’t tell what they represent
  • The blurred glimmer of light from inside the public loos
  • Sunglasses hiding what people are thinking, or where they’re looking
  • Pools of water built on sand where footprints disappear faster than they’re formed
  • The apartments overlooking are pristine – but no one’s home
  • Ball games undermined by the wind they thought wouldn’t matter
  • A motorised dinghy no match for the chopping waves, even though it tries harder
  • Swimming shorts holding on to the thighs they cover – but only when wet
  • A toddler cries next to a mossy wall that’s a thousand shades of green
  • You’ve got to blink, not rub, the sand out of your eyes
  • Everyone confuses seaweed pods with bubblewrap at some point
  • Baseball caps clinging to matted fringes, clinging to sweaty foreheads
  • Contextless feathers intriguing no one
  • A parked tour bus’s livery framed accidentally perfectly between a gap in the railings
  • It’s easy to forget the seagulls look sideways rather than forwards
  • The metal detector man searching for value he can’t see
  • Territorially placed volleyball nets
  • How funny that everyone knows to plan around the cooling of the day
  • How difficult it is to get up when you’ve been sat down for so long


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