One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Ocean Beach with the family is walking to the beach. We get the boys all slathered up with sunscreen, then throw their board shorts and rash guards on. Jameson packs up the sand toys, Heath packs up the beach bag. I get Laszlo all strapped into the baby carrier. Then we start walking.
Down the alley way, by parking spots and garbage cans. We take a right and walk for a few blocks. Then a left and another few blocks to Newport Ave. We walk through many shops looking for the perfect tank top. We stop at the liquor store to stock up on Margarita supplies. We talk to a stranger for a few minutes. And then we see it.
The beach is alive with people. The gray sand and the blue water are dotted with people sunbathing, surfing, and wading in the cold ocean water. Someone is singing and playing the guitar. Some guy is doing back-flips off of the boardwalk into the sand. Another is preaching gibberish from on top of a rock with his face covered by a blue bandanna that has a little crooked smile drawn across it.
The sound of the waves crashing into themselves and washing against the shore is constant, both calming and unnerving at the same time. With every wave the shore is wiped out and washed away. Reborn into a fresh flight path for birds and kids, running and flapping aimlessly. We run out and back in, splashing against the waves.
Then we sit down to build sandcastles and get covered in sand. It sticks to our hands and legs and clothes. It sticks to Laszlo’s mouth. We dig holes and bury Jameson up to his armpits. Then we go back to the waves, repeating until our hearts are full of water and everyone is tired.
The walk back is not as peaceful as the walk there. It is filled with whining: the sun really tires the kids out and they are hungry—we’re all hungry. I walk half as fast as I did going. Up a few blocks, left a few blocks, up a few blocks. Through the alley way, past the parked cars and their trash cans and recycling bins. Until finally we’re back. Full of water, covered in sand, tired, and hungry. But happy to have had another walk to the beach.