There is something magical about the beach. Ears filled with the roar of waves, the backbeat of rocks rattling as they tumble against each other in the surf, the distinctive whistles of the sandpipers, and the urgent calls of the seagulls as they oversee the beach. Blues, greens, turquoise, and greys fill my eyes as they mix with the bright white of the foamy waves crashing. And there is the pervasive energy of play…beachside games of catch, pickup jumprope with kelp as the rope, surfers and boogie boarders, swimmers and waders, sand castle builders, mud throwers, walkers, runners, bike riders–I could go on forever!
Summer on the southern California coast teems with humanity. Every square inch of sand seems to be claimed by an umbrella, beach chair, towel or shovel. But I’m reminded that as September arrived, the mornings and nights belong to the locals.
Last night we made an impromptu trip to the beach, arriving in the afterglow of the sunset. The tide was low, bonfires already glowing, exercisers still working up a sweat in the cooler (but not yet chilly) evening temperatures. A light mist had rolled in along the shore, a relief to the record-setting highs we have been experiencing.
I was playing with angles with my camera last night. And noticed this child dragging kelp…I love the way that the beach provides its own toy chest.
You can see the emptiness…and the beauty of the evening beach in this shot of my hubby walking on the slant and reflected in the wet sand.
As we walked back up toward the parking lot, this little girl was attracting a crowd as she lifted bubbles from her bucket. In spite of the darkness, you can still see the colors in the bubble…and the littler children mesmerized as they watched the giant bubble float.
This morning, with forecasted hot weather–even on the coast–and a busy schedule for the day, we headed back to the beach early…arriving shortly after 7am. While the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, there were plenty of people enjoying the beach.
I noticed this man playing with his dog in the surf. The dog joyfully chased the disk and returned it to the man each time he threw it, asking for one more time.
I was even able to catch the dog in action as he ran in my direction, seeming to show me the great catch he had just made!
I noticed this mom playing with her baby in the surf. The baby would kick his feet each time the mom lifted him up and then tipped his toes into the water.
As I walked on I noticed this little boy with two surfboards. As I looked out into the waves I noticed a man (his dad) heading in to collect his board so they could head back out into the waves. The beach is definitely a place for families.
Towards the end of my walk I saw this guy fishing. The water was warm this morning (more than 70 degrees) so the fisherman was comfortable in trunks as he cast his line.
There were others I wasn’t able to document with my lens, but noticed as I walked. Couples walking with their coffee, the cute older couple with matching sun hats, exercise walkers with earbuds, runners staying above the waterline to keep their shoes dry, a father and daughter stretching before heading out with their boards, the older woman in her bikini, tennis shoes, and sun hat out for a walk, someone meditating with crossed legs and fingers touching…
One of my favorites things about the beach and the humanity that inhabits it, is that each person finds his or her own way of interacting with it. You can wear a bathing suit, a wetsuit, shorts, jeans…or even a wedding dress. Shoes are optional and are often seen in pockets, hanging over shoulders, or held in the hand. You can sit, stand, lay, run, walk, jump, dance, catch, throw, search, dig, build, chase…the options are endless.
I have quite a collection of images of #beachpeople this summer as I’ve noticed and studied the humanity I find on the beach. And what I know for sure is that most of them seem to come to the beach for fun, for pleasure, to escape the heat, the stresses of work…it is a place filled with play and playfulness. Adults playing with children, adults playing with other adults…enjoying the water and sand with the joy many often leave behind with childhood.
The beach is a magical place.