“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied..”
― from Sea Fever by John Masefield
This past week I was in San Diego. The photo here is the road to Black’s Beach. It is a private road accessible by car to those with a key to the gate. For the rest of us, we walk, over a half mile, descending 350 feet to the sea. We walk some more, we surf, we swim, and we walk back up.
Locally known as the nude beach– well the part of the beach that is State Park beach and not patrolled by lifeguards– my friends and I like this beach because it is usually pretty empty, even on a summer weekend day. My friend Karin and I started coming here when she was learning to surf so she wouldn’t have to compete for waves with aggressive young men, and wouldn’t be embarrassed about her lack of surfer savvy. We’d see sea lions and dolphins on the regular. They too prefer the quiet beaches.
I’m not a surfer, but I do like to swim. I’ve been making do here with the city pools and have made swimming laps part of my regular routine. I’m not fast. I don’t count laps, I just swim until I can’t swim any more. And I focus on breathing. It is very meditative and maybe helping me figure out what’s next… Or maybe I just like the way my body feels gliding through the water. I even learned to do a flip turn and am quite proud of that accomplishment. It’s good to always be learning, but to do something physical at my age seems like a big deal to me.
This past week I was able to feel my body gliding through the salty sea water. And while the necessity of paying attention to the ocean is not as meditative as laps, it is healing in a different way. There was one magical moment when Karin and I swam out past the break and crested one 5 foot wave, slid down the back side only to crest another. The dark green glassy waves were big and powerful yet gentle and we slipped from one to the next with ease.
I’m feeling rejuvenated from my San Diego summer visit, and I hope your summer is treating you well. Are you ready to come play with words?
If you’re writing on your own, consider writing about a place that is special for you or your character– a place that calms, heals, rejuvenates, a place that means something.