Last weekend, I went to the beach with an old friend. I decided to get out of the house for a bit and enjoy some of what the summer had to offer, in terms of sun, ocean, and just plain good ol’ nature.
Mind you, I’m not the most enthusiastic when it comes to going to the beach. It’s funny, because I grew up in Los Angeles my entire life, and oddly enough, I don’t have a craving to go to the beach, unlike many of my peers who live for that sun-kissed skin and bikini body. I’m not the hugest fan of getting sand stuck between my toes, let alone a mouthful of potentially-dirty Pacific water, which I guess makes me a rather “strange” Los Angeleno at heart.
However, this past visit to the beach made me think– in fact, I’ve slowly grown to appreciate the beach more in recent years: I attribute it to the fact that I’ve been moving around these last couple of years, working and traveling abroad in Europe. At least for the last two years, I’ve been living in a cold region of France, without much of the sunshine and warmth that I was accustomed to in Los Angeles, even took for granted. True, I didn’t live too far from the coast in Normandy, but its beaches were different as well, dark and rocky with an Atlantic wind that chilled you to the bone during winter. It wasn’t what I was used to, and I was hit with the realization that I, in fact, missed the beaches of Los Angeles.
Returning this past weekend to the sunny coastline, I actually enjoyed myself. Despite the intense heat (and the subsequent sunburn afterwards), I found new happiness in admiring just how the ocean’s waves seemed to mirror the vastness of the sky, somehow in an almost-identical shade of blue. That, along with letting myself touch the cool water with my bare toes, a wonderful respite from the afternoon slow-burn. My friend, whom I’ve known for as long as I could remember, taught me to appreciate the abundant sea life just right along the shore, presenting me a cluster of sand crabs to look at in amusing fascination.
The beach was crowded the day we went, which made finding a good spot rather difficult. All the same, I very much found pleasure in people-watching, from the families with little children running all over the sand to the elderly couples lounging under their umbrellas to nap the afternoon away. I also felt myself drawn to the hypnotic waves pushing back and forth– some little, some towering– wondering if there was ever an end to this cycle of nature.
My friend and I spent no more than a couple of hours at the beach, but all the same it was a rewarding day, albeit exhausted, as we ascended the hill back to the car, pausing for a final view overlooking the Southern California coastline. Perhaps I’ll return before this summer ends, to learn to love the ocean even more than now.
— The Finicky Cynic
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