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Siesta at sunset

All the clichés are true. No day is a bad day if you’ve watched the sun set on the beach. It’s the one experience you can count on time and time again to reliably clear your head, give you perspective, and make you appreciate what you’ve got.

And while it may cost you a small fortune to get there when you factor in the price of gas – once you’re there, watching the sun set at the edge of oceanic ad infinitum – that’s priceless.

Being at the beach at the close of the day soothes mind, body, and spirit. It works like this:

You start out feeling 70, even if you’re 40, as you plow your tired legs through those first few feet of sand. By the time you reach the water’s edge, your body starts waking up as if from a sleep, the muscles in your shoulders tart to relax and the corners of your mouth lift into the faintest trace of a smile. A quick dip into the breach leaves you feeling almost like a kid of 30 again (until an actual 20-year old walks by and then you jolt back to reality real quick). The best thing is, while you’re in the water, you feel like you’ve left 10 pounds up there by the lifeguard stand, along with your beach towel and car keys.

A walk on the beach at sunset can get you through any rough patch in your life. The sand acts as a pumice not just for your feet, but for the frayed and weary edges of your spirit, smoothing the calluses of the day from your mind and heart with every step you take along this world-famous beach.

It’s my favorite spot on Saturday evenings. Less crowded, a bit more quiet. Pelicans dive-bombing the water. Sanderlings skittering along. Colonies of seagulls facing west. It’s hard to waste time obsessing about why your boss wants to meet with you on Monday morning, or wondering why you don’t have a date on date night, when you’ve got the whole wide world at your feet.

As long as you ignore the lip-locked lovers and beach weddings, you can almost start feeling optimistic about walking the beach solo – again – for the umpteenth Saturday night. If you let yourself, you can imagine that there’s a reason the world works the way it does. The mesmerizing infinity of the waves pulls a kind of calmness out of you that maybe 15 minutes before you had no idea you possessed.

Watching that brilliant burnt orange slip into the horizon is even more hypnotic. It’s a little like that delicious moment when you first realize you’ve fallen in love. Your heart expands, you breathe in, the moment suspends.

It’s the same thing for the sunset watchers. Just before the sun sinks, there’s a collective pause on the beach. Couples, runners, photographers – you can almost hear the held breaths. And for just that moment, as the day relinquishes to night, everything’s right in the world.

On the beach, at sunset, it works like that.

Posted on June 1st, 2006Comments RSS Feed
One Response to Siesta at sunset
  1. John W. Perkins
    October 9, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Your prose is the stuff you were truly meant to write. The feelings you convey can gather me up and move me along with your thoughts and feelings. This is the heartfelt stuff that I most admire and appreciate about you.

    Do more from that sensitive part of yourself.



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