At 11 p.m., my mum suggested a plan for the following day: a trip to the Forêt du Gâvre, a large forest near Blain.
At first, I thought she was joking. At home, the words “Forêt du Gâvre” are a synonym of “that place we’ve never actually reached”, a recurring Sunday trip failure. When we were kids, every now and then, my mum wanted to get out of the city. We would aim for the Forêt du Gâvre, the perfect place for three kids to burn some energy. But either we would leave way too late and get there by sunset, either we would get lost on the way. I’ve never actually seen that damn forest during daytime.
“Er… no thank,” I said. “Look, how about going to the beach instead? I mean, we can see forest pretty much anytime in Canada. I’m 33, I think the Forêt to Gâvre just isn’t meant to be and I accept it.”
Since the goal was to beat the heat wave—it’s around 37ºC in Nantes right now—we agreed on a last beach day.
Once again, we walked to the parking lot where “the white car” is parked, picked up Mark, Feng and my mum and we all headed to the Atlantic Coast. I wanted to go to Saint-Brevin, I remembered it as a nice beach.
When we reached the Atlantic Coast an hour later, the air was noticeably cooler. “Look at these clouds,” Feng noticed when we parked by a huge pine tree, on a shady street. “Looks like it’s raining over there..”
But it wasn’t a rain cloud, just a thick blanket of sea fog. We stepped on the sand and realized we couldn’t see anything. The tide was low and I knew there was water somewhere, in front of us, but it was lost somewhere in the heavy mist. It was so hot that seawater was evaporating in front of us.
Feng and I went for a walk along the water. Two minutes later, we were lost in the fog. I had no idea where my parents and Mark were sitting, how many people were on the beach, where the stretch of sand ended. It was eerie and disconcerting.
I kept on walking, discovering stuff as I got closer to them—a fishery, a flock of seagulls, an old German bunker, sea yachts, kids playing in the laguna, sand dunes…
The fog latest for a few hours, then it turned into little clouds of mist floating over the sand as if dozens of elves had started bonfires. Only then I realized how big the beach was, how busy it was.
The swim ban was lifted around 5 p.m. and normal beach activities resumed. Sand castles were built and destroyed, swimming lessons and sailing instructions were given, beach snacks were eaten, and as usual, we came back home covered with sand.