My Morning Walk

When he called to tell me the meeting had been delayed, I was excited. I was already scheduled to spend the night in Monterey, and now I had a free morning. I set the alarm for the normal 6:30 am, but once my ears heard the shrill ring, I sprang out of bed rather than wallowing under the covers like I usually do. The beach was right across the street. And it wasn’t the crowded part of the beach; I had purposely booked a hotel 15 miles out of town.

I struggled to lift my feet, one at a time, sinking ever so slowly into the millions of fine grains of sand as I hiked up the enormous dune. I reached the top, blinded by the sunlight’s glare on the ocean. To the left, far in the distance, just before the fog met the horizon, were a smattering of fisherman. To the right, for as far as I could see, nothing but sunlight.

I scurried down the dune, sliding, losing my balance, my feet rolling out from under me. I reached the pressed portion of the beach, that sand packed by the endless cycle of tides going out, coming in, going out again. I turned to the right and began jogging, each foot leaving a deep impression in the sand as I made my way down the deserted beach. I ran, immediately feeling alone and tiny surrounded by the vast expanse of the sand, the ocean, and the sky. As I ran, I realized I wasn’t alone. That my presence wasn’t concerning the incredible amounts of life all around me.

The seagulls didn’t even move as I ran by. They stood, searching, solitary or in groups, searching for that elusive fish. Occasionally one would fly, soar, then return to its post. I ran by groups of five, groups of fifty gulls waiting on the beach.

The other thing in abundance on the beach was kelp. Two varieties had floated ashore, the huge, forest green snake like tubes and the tiny, fresh neon greens sprays. Surrounding each group, however, were tiny, ball-like organisms. At first, I thought the sand had come to life. Small balls of sand jumped as I ran by. The larger the bunch of kelp, the more the sand particles jumped. They must have been a small sea animal;I never found out.

I ran, trying to reach that elusive spot where the fog meets the horizon. As I ran, it surfaced farther and farther away. I finally gave up and turned around. An hour and a half later, in what seemed like minutes, I was back in my hotel room. What started out as my solitary expedition turned out to be one filled with millions of other life forms. Hopefully they’ll still be there when tomorrow’s, or the next day’s, fisherman, heads out.

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