I woke up Monday morning to a refreshed city, wet sidewalks and clear skies after a mid-night downpour. It’s been unusually clear in Santa Monica. Last week, as I trundled along my street, turning left on Cloverfield to catch the freeway, or down Colorado towards the gym, I’ve been catching glimpses of ocean. At the end of a 2.5 mile slope to the sea, this strip of blue is barely a strip; it’s a short mustache cupped between looming cheeks of glass and below a hooked nose of grey cement. Buildings and traffic press on it, dart in my vision, but there it remains, solitary and small and beckoning.
I love these glimpses of the beach, 2.5 miles back where I live, because they are so unexpected. Yes, 2.5 miles is a lot closer than most live to the Pacific—hideyho, Colorado—but it’s still far enough that I often forget it’s there, that I live in in a city that touches the beach. I forget, and there’s traffic and then, in the pause of a red light, there it is: the edge.
Monday, in honor of the reversal of Daylight Saving’s Time (daylight, I’ll still savor you); and sunset falling before rush hour; and in honor of crisp post-rain air, I got in my car and darted down to the beach, to the cliffs north of the pier. Expansive and wild wind and blue and blowing sand; the whole view from a point above, and it’s huge, the edge of a continent. I want to visit the beach more just to say hello: not to run or bike or to get coffee or see people who live near the beach, but just to say, hey neighbor, how are you.
They’re different, these glimpses. One is hidden and barely beautiful and fleeting but wonderful in the contrast. The other is almost too much, an exploding sunset over the Pacific, and in full view, bold and too permanent.