NOVEMBER 26, 2019
An Empty Beach
I went surfing recently at a spot in North L.A., and I am always grateful for how empty this beach is. Looking back toward the shore, I noticed just a few beachgoers: a tan man glistening in his folding chair, two older women with rolled-up pant legs hunched over a shallow pool, a leash-less dog, an elderly couple in functional hats, a young couple sleeping in a driftwood shelter. I crossed the band of ocean debris and picked up a stone — the free currency of all beaches — and threw it into the water. Perhaps gathering and discarding these souvenirs is the same thing we do with our thoughts while on an empty beach. Maybe the ocean is just a vast repository of everyone’s memories.
I said hello to each person I passed on that day. I rarely do that when the beach is full. — Brian Rea