Carmel CA

January 10, 2008

My secret beach in Carmel had beautiful, tall trees and flowers that kept trying to grow amongst the white sandy beaches. It was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. I’d go here when I needed to feel the same.

Then last week rough weather approached and for a few days the secret beach was dark and clung to desperately to its winter beauty. The clouds rolled over the regular beach, too, creating massive waves and ominous skies. But the beach, though darker, was unchanged. Although the winds and waves were kicking up, the white sand tried so hard to stay, hiding things underneath while letting selective things grow. It wasn’t ready for the change and tried to pretend nothing was happening.

It’s just winds and waves said the beach and those who came – this is how it always is. You think something will happen but really, it doesn’t. We pretend to ooh and ahh and watch the show but truthfully, it’s just show.

But then a storm really came; trees were down, power was out for two days, hurricane winds pelted down over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. The view from my flat was usually beautiful but I couldn’t see through the rain or clouds and at night it was pitch black with no solace from a candle. It was an isolating, scary and humbling three day period because no one was really prepared.

When the worst of the storm was over the dog and I were itching to walk and so to our beach we went, expecting just to see some big waves and dark skies as before. Yet when we arrived we found the beach very much changed.

It was bare – there were no people or beach; just new cliffs with a small bit of sand below full of seaweed. It wasn’t safe to walk on, it smelled bad from everything washing out – then back – to shore. It was in transition and no one – and nothing – wanted to be there. And so we left wondering if it would ever be the same as before.

Of course it wouldn’t. Nothing stays the same after a storm.

New Beach

A few more days later I went back to the beach and found it once again transformed but this time, into something much more beautiful and interesting. The cliffs were still there but now gave way to a new kind of beach. One that lacked all the comforting soft white sand and instead now had boulders everywhere that were hidden for who knows how long. They were beautiful, mysterious, filled with life in all their nooks and crannies.

And they were slowly being discovered by people who had returned after the storm and wanted to see the beauty of change.

New Beach

Usually it’s a quick walk on the beach but today the dog and I lingered, even played. We got trapped on boulders, walked through the cold water, talked with some surfers who loved the new waves. I marveled at how quickly it had changed.

Even though the storm was scary terribly scary to be in and the transformation of the beach was hard to watch at first (I was sad to see my struggling flowers die), it produced a dramatic change back to what it once was. It just did it; no gathering of people to dig away the sand, no permission to get, no questions asked if it was ready – it just did it.

New Beach

And that doing produced an old beach that had been hidden for so long and made it new again for itself and those who came to it. It became a beach that truthfully, was a little more fun than the last.