Spending a day at Lyme Regis got me thinking about why the coast matters to us.
It’s much more than just being an island nation though thats an important factor. We like to gravitate to the coast. It is something that binds the generations: a kind of social glue.
My own mini mass observation project on the Dorset coast showed that the power of the seaside is compelling. We change in character and the cares of every day life float away.
The muffled sound of children laughing, the chatter of contented day-trippers and the melodic sound of the waves create an intoxicating effect. A trigger in our mind equates the coast with a sense of happiness. We tap into our memories of childhood spent crabbing, building sandcastles and anticipating the nectar of an ice-cream.
The Victorians saw the coast as the place to revive our constitution; the perfect place to take the air. In modern times our quest is for a connection with nature, the sense of coming together and a journey to a place where we can dream.
For me the coast fires our imagination. The rules of the treadmill of life are suspended and we get closer to the natural world. We are drawn to the coast by this magnetic sense of being somewhere we’re not judged and flourish on the collective endeavour of getting there.
A journey to the coast is exhilarating, wondrous, emotional and tiring. It becomes addictive: we need our fix of the seaside to keep us going. That is why the coast matters.