Book excerpt: Seeking the perfect beach, finding family memories

Previously unpublished essay shares a summer of searching for the best spots to enjoy the St. Croix.




2 minute read

A baby snapping turtle on a St. Croix River beach, September 2020 (Photo by Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360)

The river essays in St. Croix 360’s recent book were all written and published on St. Croix 360 over the course of this year — except one. Collected together, the regular writing traces the uncertain arc of a time like none other in memory.

But, there is also a previously unpublished essay titled “Sand Seekers.” This one is pretty personal, describing how important the river was for my family this summer, and our quests to find the perfect beach.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“When we arrive at our favorite beach late one August afternoon, there is no one else there for the first time since early summer. We pounce on it like a bass striking a popper. The beach is on a point along the main channel where a significant side channel splits off. This splitting of the current creates the right hydraulic action to create a sheet of shallows the size of a football field.

“The sand under the water is arranged in fine, wandering, chaotic rows of ridges, formed like snowdrifts by the current. They are endlessly beautiful, showing the shape of the water, reflecting its every variation. The sand waves are replicated at a larger scale, with ridges a foot or two high every 20 feet or so. They repeat the pattern on a larger scale, like a fractal.

“The sunlight is a yellow that melts one’s worries, and the river washes them far away. In a couple hours, the sun will hit the top of the Minnesota bluff, but until then we will be warmed by it while splashing in the 70-degree water. The kids float down the sandbar toward me, floating easily with their life jackets on. They close their eyes against the bright sky, and drift in peace and joy. I feel the same, looking at them.”

– “Sand Seekers,” by Greg Seitz, River of Refuge, 2020

Purchase River of Refuge to read the entire essay, and to revisit the St. Croix in all seasons.


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Book excerpt: Seeking the perfect beach, finding family memories