My Kaleidoscope of Memories
Richard Li, Division 2, 10th grade #ws16e-s2d2

Breaking free from the imprisoning buckles of my car seat, I charged onto the beach. With a denim shirt rolled up to the elbow, I plunged my six-year-old hands into the sand, fingers squirming. Feeling the powder-like minerals wrapped around my palms, I held on with obstinate fervor. My mother’s eyes widened in horror as I lifted my hands and released, a myriad of pellets spraying down from the sky while my smile broke into a villainous grin. Escaping my little extravaganza, I shifted my attention onto the ocean. In every direction, the vast ocean met the grey clouds on the horizon. I jumped, startled, as pounding waves leapt at me, tightly interwoven shades of Spanish blue and forest green beckoning me into their invigorating embrace. I acquiesced, striding towards the tides lapping at the shore, waves brushing the rocks with a gentle caress. Standing still, I listened to the breathing of the ocean, an unending melody, its silent breath meandering through the salty breeze. This was the beach, the great kingdom of wildlife; home to my manifold adventures.

I have entrusted the recollections of my childhood to the beach. My own kaleidoscope of memories is encased in the ocean, the vivid colors pushing against the glossy layers of each wave, foamy bubbles bursting in nostalgic reminiscence. From the reflection of the water I see the years when I held my parents’ hands desperately as we walked across the shore to the days when my feet could finally touch the smooth pebbles underwater. Exploring every crevice under the mountainous rocks, I chased my puerile, yet intrepid curiosities. A crab leapt into the air, jostling its claws together in turbulence as I shifted through the loose layer of sand. Plunging my head deep into the water, a school of fish encompassed my vision; the minute California corbina so clustered it reminded me of a girl’s beautifully plaited hair. I remember my little peaches-and-cream hand, smudged with residue from my expeditions, interlocking with my mother’s fingers. My adventures in this metropolis of biodiversity had begun to malleate my personality; the beach had blossomed my desire for aspiration, for exploration. I wanted to grasp the unknown, to discover the exalted treasure of the coastline. The beach cultivated my insatiability and manifested a joy for journeys.

I watch the sky paint itself: first scarlet, then amethyst, hinted with drops of bittersweet orange, and finished with obsidian clouds emblazoned onto the canvas. Threads of sunlight escape off the surface, faltering as they descend down, inches away from me. Smells of sea salt and recently plastered sunscreen meander through the coastline, frolicking amongst the screaming children. Adolescents line up on the shores of the beach, stretching their legs under the scorching sun, desperate for that subtle darkening in complexion. The adults sit under protection of the shade, huddled in indistinct chatter, occasionally erupting in bursts of laughter. The beach has always been an embodiment of community; the serene, candid atmosphere juxtaposed to the exuberance of the people. Being amazed at the beach so abuzz with life, so filled with excitement and emotion, I cannot help but want to visit more frequently. The beach has taught me to cherish the picturesque, intricate environment around us, along with the vigor of the community.

My unfettered curiosity for learning and adventure has been fueled by my endeavors at the beach. The beach has become a sanctuary that has nurtured me into an adventurous, yet appreciative person. Becoming my favorite place to revisit, the beautiful coastline has metamorphosed me into a person who isn’t afraid to digress from the ordinary route, who is compelled to immerse in any activity of interest, and who understands and treasures the connection between nature and the community. My kaleidoscope of memories, recollections of my adventures, will be forever encased in the reflection of the ocean water. Each shard of a mirror, each memory, will serve as a remembrance of what the beach gave me. Throughout my expeditions into the waves of the ocean, I have discovered the unknown. I have discovered myself.
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