I love to wander. It clears my head. And it grounds me.
Recently, I got to wander on the beach in Pacifica. It was almost 5 p.m. and the box speaker that had been pumping music out across the waves stood silent. The cove community had scattered – drawn elsewhere by the need to nap or tend to dinner, children, or work-week preparations.
For nearly an hour, the only occupants of this achingly beautiful stretch of shore were me, two crabs and a handful of surprisingly quiet gulls. I felt staggeringly lucky to be the only one of 7.7 billion humans on planet Earth standing there feeling the waves wash over my feet.
My toes sunk deeper into the sand. I walked up and down, and back and forth the unusually deserted beach feeling the water pull on the sand beneath my feet. The owner of the hushed speaker fetched it wordlessly.
When, at last, I perched on a rock to rest, its stockpile of heat rose up through me. The sun was dropping fast across the waves. Facing it, filled by it, I sat. A couple wearing parkas walked across the horizon toward the far end of the beach and to my right, a woman with a “half-full” glass caught my eye and waved. When I looked back, her husband was sitting beside her holding her hand.
Now we were five. I wondered if I should feel lonely or if I had been adrift on the beach too long when the sun, framed by wings of clouds, pulled my gaze back.
When I finally rose, remnants of light were still washing over us. I clambered over the rocks toward the row of clapboard houses on stilts. To my left, a group of neighbors sat laughing as the sun dropped past the horizon at last.
The next day we would go into the city, stroll through the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, enjoy a scrumptious lunch at Burma Superstar. My wandering heart still warm, my soul smiling.
Here’s a 13-second peace break just for you. Enjoy ~