Springtime Trip to the Beach


For a lot of people, the pandemic has been a time of isolation, of anxiety, of lost opportunity. To an extent, it has been for me too. My health issues mean I’m being very cautious about my exposure. I “left” my job (read: they told me I quit) and have spent most of the last year adapting to this new circumstance.

Thankfully, we’re not hurting. My partner’s job has been steady, I’ve gotten enough pandemic assistance to have a cushion for disaster, and our lifestyle is such that we’re not anxious to get back out into the world. At least, not the way many other people are, going to bars and public venues. The loss of movie theaters is sad, but for the most part, our trips out are to open-air, middle of nature locations, like the Nature Center.

So. Something I learned recently is that our local access to Lake Michigan has a pretty cool phenomena happen in the late winter. As the ice over the lake begins to melt, the waves crack and break it, and it piles up along the beaches and piers. You end up with large shards of ice piled up, in what is a gorgeous display of the beauty of nature.

I really wanted to visit South Haven to check it out this year, but we never found the time to do it. Maybe next year.

We did, however, decide to head out and check out the beach town before spring really hits and it gets flooded with people. We picked a nice day this week, when it was 75° and sunny and gorgeous out.

A nice warm day on the Black River.

Normally when we visit South Haven, it’s in the full swing of summer and the place is packed. Normally, it’s also not during a global pandemic. Now, where we live, there’s been pretty solid mask compliance everywhere we go. Granted, we don’t go out a ton, and I don’t know how it is firsthand as a retail worker since I left my job.

South Haven, though, was… less than stellar. A lot of people hanging around outside not wearing masks, and sure, you’re outside, but you’re still hanging out in large groups. We steered clear of them, and largely spent our time walking along the beach or through the neighborhood.

It’s not a spectacular beach, but it’s our beach.

I spent a little bit of time walking along the beach barefoot. A lot of my life was spent on beaches, growing up in a combination of Cuba and Virginia Beach, so I hadn’t quite realized how much I missed it until we were here. Unfortunately, the water was still a brisk 39°, so I didn’t get more than my toes wet.

Still cold, even though it was warmed a little by the sun on the sand.

Since this was all a little before tourist season, a lot of the buildings and shops downtown were closed. Some were just gone, others weren’t going to open for another month. A few were open, and we stopped in at a couple. One, in particular, is a gem and mineral store, where we spent some time browsing a lot of cool rocks. I got a new heart to add to my collection, and my partner got a new orb for his.

Normally, we would get some ice cream while we’re down there, but again; too early in the season. None of the ice cream shops were open, and won’t for another month. We did follow a bit of sidewalk chalk to a movie theater that still shows movies (though we didn’t stop in) and we got some takeout to eat in the park.

All in all, it was a fun day out. I didn’t have too much anxiety about the pandemic. We’ve both gotten our first shots of the vaccine, we wore our masks whenever we were near people or in buildings, and it wasn’t very crowded. I’m looking forward to going back some time later in the summer, hopefully once this disease has settled down and it’s safer to do so when there are crowds. That, or we might explore some of the less popular beaches. Stay tuned for that!

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