It was just last month, early December. I went for a stroll through the neighborhood one evening. Sunset Plaza was all done up in its signature holiday style, with tiny multi-color lights strung along the retail and restaurant facades. Makes for a festive, yet understated, holiday streetscape. (I also love that they tear it all down the day after xmas.)
I stopped into a shop and, though I wasn’t really looking for anything, left with a new scarf. I thought, this’ll get me through the coming LA winter, which can be wet but is never really cold. A lightweight coat and scarf is all you’ll need. For about three weeks.
Or not. The temps have been in the 70s and 80s ever since I bought that damn scarf. You didn’t really think I was writing a #100happydays post about a scarf, did you?
No. I just thought it might be hateful to lead off with the real theme of this post, which is:
Walking the beach… in January… barefoot… makes me happy.
Oh god. I know. But you’ve come this far, you might as well enjoy the ride.
I live 9 miles from the beach. Two blocks down the hill, turn right on Sunset Blvd, and nine lovely, curvy miles later I’m at the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). It’s a left to Santa Monica or a right to Malibu. Today, I headed to Santa Monica. I wound my way back up to Ocean Ave, which runs along the top of the palisades facing the ocean, and found a parking space right by the Montana Ave steps.
There are only three pedestrian bridges across PCH in Santa Monica. Very convenient, but it does involve 100-foot change in elevation from atop the palisades to the sand. And back.
The steps by Montana Ave are the oldest, I think, as they are built entirely of wood. The two-by-fours and railroad ties are so charmingly yesteryear… notably in their utter disregard for anything approaching level. I nearly broke my ankle, several times, as I gazed out across the sea to Malibu’s Point Dume or watched the transpacific jets launching from LAX. Once I learned to look down at my feet, it was much smoother sailing. And then, I was on the sand. Tranquility Base.
It’s a w-i-d-e beach, at least 100 yards to the surf. I’m always amazed at the people who stop and plant themselves on the hot, dry sand. For me, paydirt is the zone of flat wet sand where the surf can wash over your ankles. It’s easier walking on that wet sand – and isn’t walking what a beach is really for? And for picking up stones. That was also part of my mission today (but that’s another post).
It was a glorious afternoon on the beach in Santa Monica. And so many of you will feel such joy as I tell you it took nearly two hours in rush hour traffic to cover those nine miles home. Bumper-to-bumper. But I wasn’t in a hurry. And you know, there’s something about begin forced to a crawl along Sunset Blvd on a beautiful winter’s day. Windows down. Music up. Meandering through leafy Brentwood, along the UCLA campus in Westwood, past the gates of Bel Air and then winding through the Hills of Beverly… not so bad, after all. Sure, it screwed up my evening swim. But I did scamper back up those steps from the beach. That counts for something.
The beach in winter makes me happy.
Day 009 #100happydays