Today I saw Californian culture at its finest. I can’t tell you what the “California Dream” is because I’ve always been a Californian and that’s like asking a fish to tell you about water, but I can describe the moments that make me the most proud and happy to be a native to this state.
When Phoebe and I arrived at San Simeon Beach in Cambria, we were dressed in our usual attire of sun dresses, flip-flops and sunglasses. To beat the chill of the sea breeze, I donned a light sweater and helped Phoebe into a wind-breaker jacket. I noticed others dressed this way, too: sporting shorts and sandals with fleece jackets. The odd mismatch that is sensible to Californians is what differentiates us from tourists sometimes.
As we climbed down the weathered wooden staircase, I saw an idyllic scene: small children, older children and teenagers playing together with driftwood, arranging it into benches, bridges and tee-pee’s… There were kids and adults surfing, boogie-boarding and wake-boarding. People wore rolled-up jeans and wet suits. No one was there to work on their tan or flaunt their progress at the gym. Older couples held hands and leaned on each other as they sat on the driftwood and watched the waves. Kids ran together with their shaggy, feathered hair peeking out of their beanies. Everyone appeared calm, happy and patient. I heard moms calling across the sand to kids with names like “Zooey” and “Cyrus”…as in “Zooey! ZOE-ZOE! Do you have to go POTTY? There’s a POTTY up THERE!” Some of the children scaled the rock formations that lined the beach and the adults nearby looked out for them, letting them know when they might not be safe. One lone adult pulled out a reading book that he’d wrapped in a bag to keep it safe from the sand. A little girl ran to her mother who swung her around joyfully.
Phoebe and I marveled at the monstrously large seaweed and explored the rocks and giant driftwood logs. Then we played hide and seek among the cypress trees. One day, it won’t be as easy as squealing “Oh my gosh, I found you!” to fill Phoebe with glee, but for now she’s just three years old, and we’ll play hide-and-seek as much as she likes.
How would you describe an idyllic scene at the place you call home?