The time just before the sun comes out, the intermediate of night and day. We drove, windows down, listening to the blues, strums of guitar accompanied by musty microphones and moaning voices. I felt like we should have been driving in a woody. Head out the window, my newly number 5 trimmed head let the wind tickle my scalp. I was going to the beach and I couldn’t be happier about it. I want to go swimming and I don’t care that it’s almost feeding time.
We walked the half mile stretch to the beach in almost total darkness, only able to tell our path by the little star light let through from the trees above. At the touch of the cool sand I was back in my element. Already without shoes, I took my shirt off and walked calmly into the warm water. With no breeze, the water was completely flat past the shore break. The waves broke two and a half feet high, perfect for body surfing.
All night my friend Nat’s girlfriend had been commenting on how we were going swimming during feeding time. I laughed and trusted Jamie and Adam had proved that myth busted. Sure enough, right when I stepped just outside of the break, I see a fin glide across the top of the water only a few yards away from me. I look to Nat and saw him looking with a dead stare at the spot where the fin popped up. I did what any sensible human would do, tried to run in waist deep water. Nat continued his stare and then called “Wait! They’re just dolphins!”
Other than a group of drunks that reinforced my commitment to not drink, we had the beach to ourselves. Cool sand, warm water, salty air, calming shore break, moonlit sky speckled with lights from across the universe. God, I love the beach.
The next day I returned to the exception to the rule that the older a person gets, the more boring the stuff they do on the beach is. Building sadcastles is fun. I don’t care if I am the only nineteen year old building them. A kid plays in the shore break and on the crest of the water in the maleable sand. A teenager throws a ball at another ball to see how close he can get them. College students lay on towels to see how much skin damage they can squeeze out of a few hours. Sometimes they play volleyball or other beach games. But mostly they do what I do between ten p.m. and eight a.m., sleep. Adults have kids who keep them young for an hour or so before they sit in a chair and read. I play and I love playing and I don’t really see myself enjoying anything else. My future kids will be in college remarking on how weird their dad is for body boarding and building sand castles. I’m fine with that.