“The sun, the hearth of affection and life, pours burning love on the delighted earth.”

— Arthur Rimbaud

One of the ways in our busy lives that my daughter and I connect is when Ann spontaneously comes over and whisks me off to the beach, nourishing both our bodies and souls. Our walk on the beach verified the fact that the Maine coast is famous for its changing weather: A foggy day at the beach yields many surprises.

Our day starts by eating a thick, delicious lobster roll while sitting on the warm, smooth sand near the dunes. We chatter and listen to the rhythm of the ocean. It is so easy to fall under the relaxing spell of the rolling, lazy waves. We watch the seagulls dip and dive for the scraps that we toss them.

A gentle blanket of haze began to creep in. Intent on taking our walk, we went off into the gray, moisture-laden air. We were compelled to walk. Visibility was fading as the heavy fog poured in all around us. This experience turned out to be quite different. I have come to think of fog as a blank canvas, and the beach is not like elsewhere. Have you ever meandered through the fog along the seashore?

There were few tourists and other folks enjoying the area as we came across some interesting, fog-framed sights. We strolled past a man and three young boys with fishing poles cast into water at very low tide ”“ hardly any water. Ann wondered, “What are they doing?”

Because they were so friendly and smiled at us through the thick fog, I jokingly said I hoped the catching was good. The man replied, “Oh, we are just practicing.”

With low visibility and our feet treading softly over water-drenched sand, we almost stumbled over three boys buried up to their necks, hands and all, in the sand. The tide was coming in and there was an air of menace as the ocean rolled right up to the boys’ chins. Ann became concerned, and I will admit I had anxiety, but we controlled ourselves and moved on. There was an adult with them. However, we still wonder about those fellows.

The fog became thick enough to scoop up. It was hard to see in front of us. Visibility was about one foot ahead of us when we heard loud, roaring laughter coming from the ocean. “What’s happening?!” we wondered. A man was sitting backwards in the water with several little children around him. It seemed like he was having all the fun and was not going to miss any moment of this day. I must say everyone we met was happy, smiling and seemed in harmony with the fog.

Soon, it was time for us to leave. We knew it was not an unknown path to find our way off the beach. However, as the sand stretched in front of us, we were not sure where the exit was. In the mist we could not see far ahead but we continued on. We squinted harder. Needless to say we could not find the way. A couple strolled by and we asked if they had passed the life guard station near the exit. “Sorry,” they answered. “We are tourists.” We laughingly thought that was the best ending of our day.

Suddenly it seemed we could see further. We plotted our course, we turned around and ”“ yes ”“ found the exit just exactly where it was supposed to be.

We will never forget the sights and sounds of summer’s rare grayness.

— Zaffie Hadiaris of Saco is the host of “Zaffie,” a weekly television talk show on Channel 3 Biddeford public access. It can also be seen at biddefordmaine.org. Contact Hadiaris at [email protected].