Returning to the Beach

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July 2020

When I was a little girl, my parents used to drive from Redwood City, west along Highway 84 to San Gregorio State Beach for the day. On the way, we’d stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken to get biscuits, coleslaw, and a huge bucket of the original recipe (in the 1980s, that was the only option).

At the beach, my parents would put down a large sheet, somewhere between the San Gregorio Creek and the Ocean. My sister and I would either play with our sand toys or play tag with the ocean waves.

To this day, I remember the discomfort of my wet bathing suit and the itchy sand on my sunburned legs. In between play, I’d eat a drumstick, often crunching of the bits of sand that had blown into the bucket. I’d watch the vehicles drive along the Cabrillo highway bridge high above the creek. I’d always wonder where those travelers were coming from and where they were going.

Before sunset, my parents would pack us up, and we’d head home. Even as a child, I recall feeling so relaxed after spending the day at the beach.

I have yet to visit San Gregorio as an adult.

July 15th 2020

With all that has been going on, I’d been desperate for a beach day for months!  And Oh, Happy Day, when I realized that my favorite beach had reopened in July. Coming from the East Bay, I hopped on the 92 and drove west to Half-Moon Bay State Beach.

It was more crowded than usual, filled with tents, Frisbee tossers, volleyballers, anglers, and folks working on their tans. I was glad, so many could finally enjoy the benefits of being at the beach.  

My youngest and I would not toss Frisbee’s or cast a line into the ocean. Unlike when I was a girl, there was no need for bathing suits or fried chicken.  I go to practice grounding/earthing and to take photos.

Before getting our “healing on,” my daughter and I took a brief walk around the cliffs. Look who came up to say, “Hi.” The weasel was about the size of a month old kitten. To be honest, I’d never seen a weasel in person, and never expected to. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to see these cute (but dangerous) creatures at HMB.

Eventually, we made our way down to the beach and walked quite a distance to find a space to settle in. Like my parents, I put down a sheet. Then we sat down, dug our feet into the sand, and relaxed onto our backs.

Selfie fail; you’re welcome

We talked for a bit, then closed our eyes and fell silent. Our breathing synced with the ebb and flow of the crashing waves, and we felt its violent vibration along our backs. Seagulls screeched overhead, and I picked up partial conversations of those walking by.

When it was time to go, I shook out the sheet, rolled it up, and then my daughter and I played tag with the ocean. As a runner with achy ankles, I opted to chase it, soothing my sore legs and feet in the icy water.

We returned to the car, dusted the sand off with our towels, and headed back home, energized, de-stressed, and refreshed.

I slept very well that night; I (almost) always do after spending a day in nature.  

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