On the Beach

Everyone likes the beach, with its connotation of warm summer days, romantic moonlight strolls, balmy breezes, tans, and bikini, or dare we hope, thong clad, babes. If you’re a gay male, you’ll have to supply your own appropriate vision. After all, except for sand in your shorts ( or wherever), sunburn, crowds, broken glass, tsunamis, riptides, sharks,  and the total embarrassment of being seen in a bikini, thong or whatever, what’s not to like?

Terrified of the water? No problem. Just because you’re at the beach doesn’t mean you have to actually go in the water. I hate to acknowledge the fact and burst your beach bliss daydream, but not all beaches border warm water.  I know, I was devastated, too.  Every once in a while I wade in the water at my local S. Cal beach to check if maybe a new underwater lava vent had popped up (we’ve been having a lot of earthquakes lately, it could happen) close enough to shore to heat the water another 10 degrees or so. It hasn’t happened yet ( but I’m patient) and therefore I do not go in the water. 75 degrees is my minimum!

Pristine, sparkly white, deserted, reef protected, lazy wave lapped, benign breeze kissed,  palm fringed beaches  are the plus ultra of beaches, in my humble and totally correct opinion. There are plenty of other not so ultra kinds, though. That’s what makes the above beach so sought after. Black sand (sort of cool, actually), filthy sand, just plain filthy, rocky, muddy, shelly, gravely,  hidden by jungle, at the bottom of a cliff (that’s where the secret treasure, magic, world domination laboratory caves are located), washed by freezing ass cold water, big lake beaches, small lake beaches (Those are the ones where the mutant piranhas, alligators, worms, and generally nasty creatures show up), and even river and stream beaches.  But, you have to take your beach where you can get it.

The water makes the beach. Besides the fact that without water it wouldn’t be a beach, it’d be a pile of sand, rocks, or mud, you’d be cussing at as you slogged through it to reach an amusement park or some other artificial amusement. It’s that shhuuuuuu – hiissss relentless rhythm (heartbeat) of the sea that really draws us attuned by millions of years of evolution as we are to our species’ birthplace, no matter those other people say it was 6189 years ago (give or take) on one of Big G’s good (this being a debatable point Clean Earth-wise)  days. 

The beach as homecoming. I can dig it. I once spent a couple weeks on a mostly deserted Mexican beach camped in a makeshift tent against some rocks. I was home for those weeks and leaving was like moving to a new town where you knew nobody and nothing and hadn’t a clue how it would turn out, leaving the familiar. If the sharks visible in the breaking waves had been friendly, and I hadn’t run out of food, I’d have stayed longer. Beach. Water. Home.


What if you were living Hermit fashion at a mostly deserted beach, camped up at the edge among the jungle, trees, rocks. You’re enjoying the starry night when three men drag a fourth to low tide water’s edge, dig a hole, put him in it, and walk away. You’re at the beach for a reason, don’t want to get involved. That woman/man you want to forget but know you never will, hurt you so bad you don’t care  what people do to each other. It’s none of your concern….

Until they scream for help. It’s easy to do nothing when it’s just a dark bump in sand. Not so easy when they cry for help. What do you do? Ignore the cries? It’s a bird, it will soon stop. But will the guilt built up and in a few days you have to go after the men responsible?   Try to save them? Maybe you do, but you’re too late. Amazingly,  in that short time you connected with someone. Something  you thought would never happen again. Now it’s anger that forces you to go after the murderers.    Save the woman? Take her to your camp, but you will not connect just to be broken again. A day, maybe two and she has to go.  But she breaks through,  and tells her story and now you have to find the bad guys. Unless,  the bad guys come back and find you and it’s time to run for your life and love. How it turns out is up to you, together.

What if you and your crew were stranded on an alien beach on an alien planet? What wonders, dangers,  and adventures might you experience?

What if you were shipwrecked on a lonely beach and when you woke up FRIDAY was watching you. He’s maybe not quite human, a little shabby, a bit geeky, casual, helpful. He warns you to not try to leave the beach into the jungle/trees. You do try, of course, and that’s when you find out Friday is the Guardian and will kill you to stop you from entering the jungle that he readily admits will lead you to safety. How do you save yourself,  especially as Friday is so darn friendly?

What if you took a backpack and walked some of the worlds longest beaches?  Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is supposedly the longest “natural” and beach at about a 120 K, or 150 miles, depending on who you ask. Don’t ask the people around Praiado Cassino in Brazil. Their beach is 156 miles with, they say, a longer one next to it. But there are others. 90-100 miles of beach should make for a good walk. I’d choose that beach with the lions they showed in the Spencer Tracy film “The Old Man and The Sea.” If you know where that is, let me know.

Summer’s coming. Grab your towel, sunblock, shark/monster repellant and hit the beach, running.


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