While staying at the Maggart’s, my extended family in Venice, I took a Sunday morning walk on the beach. I was surprised by how early the beach was alive with activity. Since I moved away in 2000 some things have changed, but not too many. It’s still Venice. The homeless sleep under what ever material they find, towered over by tall palms, joggers sprint through tourists on the boardwalk, vendors roll up the metal doors to reveal rows and rows of sun glasses, tank tops, and tee shirts-3 for $10.00. Artists paint, and skaters, some as young as six or seven, zip through the concrete gullies of the skate course, launching themselves into the air as if they had wings.
I saw a fittness commercial being filmed. Twenty or so folks raced through the sand to the surf and back, did jumping jacks, and raced again. The instructor barked instructions, the camerawoman, hauling her heavy Nikon with a lens as long as my forearm, did her best to keep up.
It’s possible the surfers make it to the beach before the gulls are awake. Families spread blankets while kids race into the surf. Parents of small children do not relax at the beach. When people use the expression, “It’s a day at the beach,” meaning easy, they have never been there with kids.
All I was doing was walking, but at the end of a couple hours, I felt renewed, energized and again, part of a community I left long ago.