Seen on my lunchtime walk at the beach: a yellow school bus parked next to a red fire truck, bus driver and firefighters all perched on the low storm wall, alternately sipping coffee, crunching apples, rummaging through coolers, watching the water, waiting for us to need them. Contractors sitting in their pick up trucks, some eating, some holding cell phones to their faces, also gazing out toward the water. A mom’s boot camp taking over a few parking spaces: t-shirt clad women sweating through crunches on blue or purple yoga mats rolled out on the asphalt next to their babies in strollers, attention directed toward a handsomely built man who counts down from 30 and calls out encouraging words. They stop for a few minutes at the nearby drone of a small plane and watch it climb and loop in the sky, practicing contrail cursive.


I walked past an elderly couple sat sharing a sandwich at one picnic table; at another, a group of students were gathered around a laptop. I nodded hello to a Franciscan nun in her full black habit, to two Hare Krishna women with shaved heads and saffron robes, and to a young Amish couple pushing a stroller – she in a long indigo dress and white bonnet, he in black pilgrim hat with a long beard. People from different walks of life, all proudly wearing their faith on their sleeves.

I walked past the large Samoan man we often see, clad only in blue track shorts, sweating profusely and grinning broadly at me in recognition. Past a thin man riding his yellow unicycle with a cerulean parrot perched on his shoulder. I see him often, too. Past a mother pushing a baby stroller, trailed by a toddler in a pink tutu holding a kitten. Past an older woman with a deeply lined face and wild white hair was surrounded by dozens of pigeons pecking at the handfuls of sunflower seeds she held out as an offering. Past a Filipino with a fishing pole and five-gallon bucket walking slowly toward his car.

Fat young seagulls on the sand watch a pod of harbor porpoise dancing in the sun.

I love this; our human patchwork of colors, genders, backgrounds, and interests, all drawn to the glistening sea . . . all seeking out some bit of food for the soul under a noontime sun.