Laguna Beach is home. It is not the Laguna Beach of the tele show, or the ads to get you to go there in summer and spend you money on big canvas beach scenes or to get a tan. It isn’t crowded. The sand is not covered with soda cans and wrappers.
My Laguna was winter Laguna, when the tourists left and the beaches were smooth with a single line of footprints near the top of the tide line. After school, and sometimes during school when I was just too bored and the weather was warmish, I took off down the 383 steps of Circle Drive to the cove where we lived. Barefoot, I was careful not to get slivers in my feet from the old wooden steps. I slipped off my sweater (I always had my bathing suit on underneath, ready for a walk on the beach), and did not stick my toe in the water. That is the best way to undermine entering the colder water of winter. I dove right into a wave, and after the first shock of colder water it was warm enough to swim. And swim I did, breaking the rules about swimming alone, though it would be hard to drown in the shallow slope of the cove unless I went out too far.
I didn’t stay in long, just a dip, feeling alive! Then the best part, and my earliest memory of meditation. I dried myself off and put the warm sweater back on and headed for the point, if tide was low, or just walked along the beach, if tide was high. Everything left my mind, and it was me and the sand and the shells and the critters I met along the way. In the tide pools I found the bounty that was the clean Pacific Ocean, tiny coffee beans and olives, abalone and bright orange and red starfish (the latter of which I had long ago learned to leave alone.) Before I put anything in my pocket I checked to make sure a crab had not moved in; the stench from dying hermits was not a happy smell in my bedroom. Sea urchins moved so very slowly I could not imagine why I didn’t see them in the same spot every day, but their slow movements still allowed them progress, and if one was big or very small I would check for them in consecutive days, because I could pick them out of the crowd.
I ran into a few unusual visitors. Sea slugs, not my favorites, and if you stepped on one by accident the water became inky black. Twice I saw a tiny octopus, shy and hiding, probably scared of me. Mostly I left them all alone.
Hours could pass if I was not mindful. I always ended sitting on the sand watching the waves, like a breath, crest and crash, crest and crash. The very definition of peace.
My blog posts can be reposted; please link back to zenkatwrites. All work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License. Photo courtesy of #DPchallenge 1000 Words a Week