8 minutes. 8 minutes away and it’s been 9 months since I’ve made the trip. It’s not polite to broadcast, rude to rub in the fact that I live a hop and a skip away from the ocean, so I’ll murmur it above the breeze and inhale sandy toes.
I used to walk on the beach every morning, one of the ‘regulars’ collecting sand dollars and able to cite exact timings of low tides. When I lived walking distance away, I couldn’t imagine how anyone California resident would pass up the chance to stroll at the water’s edge. It was easy and familiar, dug into my safety zone with plastic shovels.
But then I moved, moved, and moved again. New routines built small boundaries as I shirked the unfamiliar and strayed from the different. The beach was too far. There’d be nowhere to park. It would be too crowded. I didn’t know how to get there. All fine lies to keep me stuck inland and falsely safe as the balm of crashing waves ebbed from my memory. This is usually how my trail goes: widening before narrowing, trampled with guests and picnic remnants leading to fallen leaves and missing footsteps. But always, slowly, the worn path reappears, opening up with laughter and exploration. New growth rooted in risk.
So it’s been a week of unfurling petals and stretching familiar zones, poking holes in routines and remember the sound of sea gulls. 8 minutes away and I even managed to parallel park for free street parking. It wasn’t far, crowded, or hard to find – merely new. New, looming large if enclosed in the dark, turns out to be exciting, added joy to the salty sunshine as I made sand angels by the shore, welcoming the sandy sprinkles I knew I would find later in my scalp. And just to seal add confirmation to my spontaneity, the moment I sat up, 7 dolphins frolicked by for a free show in playfulness.
It’s not polite to rub it in, and if it helps, traffic coming home added half an hour. Of course I have my sore spots and mud holes, but for today I am where I need to be, 8 minutes from sandy toes and a routine with gaping arches.
For today I’ll whisper out of respect: Waves are my murals and life is good.