My feet step onto the freshly tarred sand-blown pavement. I begin to walk north, crossing over white-striped lines denoting parking spaces. Eventually a gray cement curbstone tells me I’ve made it.
As I slip off my sandals and step over the curbstone, my toes immediate appreciate the soft warmth of the sand. It was velvet surrounding each step. A mighty and turbulent roar of the water being forcefully driven into shore immediately fills my ears. My nostrils welcome the saltiness of the air as well as the flame-broiled aroma of the burgers at the snack shack.
Seagulls squawk as they circle overhead looking for any scrap to eat.
The mocha-tinted sand starts here at my feet and extends all the way up the coast only eventually being stopped by a mountain. Right here it looks bumpy and dotted with footprints. Not far from me it turns to smooth carpeted sand as far as my eye can see.
There are castles past their prime constantly deteriorating and abandoned shovels and buckets. Folding chairs with white coolers and blankets littered with toys and snacks dot the landscape. Books and bags are left unattended. Huge colorful umbrellas bow drastically to protect from the glaring rays. Vividly tinted towels reserve spots on the sand.
Children laughing and shrieks of delight come from all directions. It instantly conjures up memories of my childhood. Women are lying, some frying, others hiding from the sun. The men are sitting up right, some present and some a million miles away. The smell of coconut oil fills the air.
At the waters edge lie tangled piles of bulbous seaweed being whipped into a froth stew. To the west the water is shimmering aquamarine. White capped churning waves interrupt the mirroring calm bringing into shore smiling faces riding long boards and various floating toys. Bobbing heads decide to ride or dodge each wave as it comes and goes.
As I gaze outwards, I feel the pull of unending openness. It’s as though a magnet is drawing me out to the sea. There is so much space between the horizon and me. The brilliant orange cast from the sun feels like a gift raining down from God. Each crashing wave announces the earth’s strength and reminds me of the tiny dot in the universe that I occupy.
I wonder what it would be like to be sitting on a sailboat out in the middle of this vast space, the wind being my only guide. I speculate breathing air that has not passed through another’s lungs. Survival being predetermined. This very well might be the only place I truly find out who I am and why I’m here. This, I believe, is the place that all thoughts are truly my own and not a medley of everyone and everything around me. I can only imagine how glorious that day would be. Or would it?
Perhaps it is not for us to ponder who we night have been, but rather who we really are.
Gail Earl is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.