What you notice when you live at the beach, that you don’t when you just visit, is how it’s constantly changing. I thought I knew beaches because I grew up near the Oregon coast and took many, many trips to Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, or Sea Side every year. As a kid it was long stretches of sand and foamy waves to run in, rocks and dunes to climb, blue sky, or in the case of Oregon, white clouds. There was horseback riding, seafood dinners, and a new best friend to break your heart when summer ended. I remember my sister and I wearing Levi 501 cutoffs and swimming in the cold water. Our fingers were so stiff and frozen we couldn’t unbutton our Levis and had to wear them in the hot shower until our fingers thawed. As an adult the beach became, to me, a place of solitude. Visits to the Oregon coast became boring and a little depressing – just grey sand and white clouds.
But living on the beach is different. Mexico is warm almost all the time but that’s not it. When you live here you have time to observe the topology and it changes from week to week. Where there was a sand dune erosion has constructed a stream. Where there was a rock wall there are now carvings created by an colony of artists living in tents (or homeless people living off tips depending on your perspective).
In what was once a pristine swath of uninterrupted sand lives a sail boat that was beached when the captain got too close to shore and lost control. We intended to invited him to Thanksgiving Dinner but on closer inspection he hadn’t showered in about a week and seemed a little crazy. So we ended up taking him a box of food and other supplies instead. It looks like he and his boat may become a fixture on the landscape. At least for a while. He’s waiting for the tide to come back up so he can continue on his way to Hawaii. I gave him my compass and wished him luck.
The beach is alive.