This is part of a series. Because I often use this space to bitch and complain, or to process the more painful parts of my life, I’ve decided to share some of my everyday pleasure too. Hope you enjoy…
The beach is always a pleasure. The air, the sound of the waves, the people, the sand… it’s all a pleasure. I run away to the beach pretty often, although sometimes I forget to do it often enough. Each time I go, there are different little things that happen that add to the pleasure.
This time, I walked out on the pier to watch the fishermen, and got to see someone catch a big fish. While I watched, he struggled for a few minutes to bring the fish out of the water. A small crowd gathered. We watched in silence. I thought his rod might snap, but bit by bit, he reeled the poor fish in. At the end, someone offered a net, and that completed the capture.
The fish landed on the pier with a loud thud. It was as big as the struggle promised it would be – I have no idea how big in inches, but big. Almost as big as the baby sharks that are what I usually see people catch from the pier. A murmur went through the crowd, “It’s a red…” “Is it a red?” “Yeah, it’s a red.” I passed by a couple who had not been very close, overheard them commenting, “They’re saying it’s a red,” and I got to casually confirm, “Yeah, it’s a red.” And we all nodded sagely, like I knew what I was talking about. Then I had to go home and look it up to see what a red was and if that was good or bad.
Apparently, it is good, “a red”is a redfish, found in the Atlantic, and considered good for eating by many.
Then there was the young guy wearing a Baphomet mask. Not a mask with some drawing of the goat devil on it, but an actual, not at all realistic, Halloween mask. He just made me laugh, he so clearly thought he was really cool. I tried to find a picture of a mask like his to share, but without any success. I smiled at him and he sort of growled back, which made me laugh. I imagine that someday he’ll look back on this with mild embarrassment.
But the last time at I was at the beach, there was a full-grown man in a pirate outfit – and it wasn’t even this close to Halloween. So you just never know what you’re going to see.
The beach I go to is relatively diverse, people of all races and ages, disabled people, people with amazing bodies, people in bathing suits or long dresses, speaking different language… So much life. So I wandered, walking in the shade under the pier, as I do, to the edge of the water. The lovely water washing over my feet.
Wandering along, I heard a young man – really a teenager – say, “There! That’s perfect!” He seemed super pleased with his sand creation. His friends were apparently underwhelmed. As I got a bit closer, I saw what he’d sculpted.
It was a pyramid, well-designed and beautifully executed. I thought about our drive to create pyramids, apparently some universally hard-wired trait. So I paused and asked him if I could take a picture of it. It still makes me smile to remember how delighted he was with the request. And I mean, look at it! That’s a perfect edge!
About ready to leave, I headed up the beach, toward the pier. I noticed two young women laying on the sand watching something. Curious, I followed their gaze. It was a little boy, lots of dark curls, maybe not quite 2 years old, who was squawking at a bird nearby. He was doing a pretty good imitation of the bird and gesturing “come here,” to it. The bird was walking around looking for dinner. The little boy started following the bird. The child was just toddling along, the bird keeping him at a safe distance.
I looked around to see who the child was with and immediately spotted the father (presumably the father.) He was standing like a soldier at parade rest, arms behind his back, watching intently. He stood at a bit of a distance, behind the child. As the bird moved farther away, drawing the child behind him, the father moved too, as if they were all attached by an invisible string. It was delightful to watch them. The child, fascinated with the bird, the father, watchful and protective. but giving the child space for his own adventure. They followed the bird for quite a while.
Eventually, the little boy was distracted by some belongings left unattended on the sand. As he began to explore this new delight, his father swept in gracefully, gently took him by the hand, and steered him away. Hand in hand, they walked off toward the water.
I almost spent the night at the beach – I called ahead on my way down to see if “my hotel” had any vacancies. I was completely unprepared, but figured I’d buy a t-shirt to sleep in. Maybe wear it home in the morning. Unfortunately, there was no room at the inn, so to speak, so I went home instead.