Spring has sprung. A silly saying, I don’t much care for it. Nor do I care for the season—windy, cold water, disappearing sandbars—it has few perks. This Spring, however, has arrived with new resolve. Like it went to rehab for seasons. Waves and weather overflow the coast. It’s true, just look around. Okay, so maybe the dungeon you’re cooped up in reading this isn’t the best gauge of seasons, but I’m guessing you caught some natural light on your skin today. Ahhh. It’s like having your face the perfect distance away from a fire. The sun is 93 million miles away from the earth. The perfect distance. What luck.
You must take advantage of such luck.
Get out of your dungeon (after you read this, because otherwise you won’t know what to do). Open the door and let the smell of blossoms relieve your nostrils from your morning- breath soaked dungeon. Smells like fresh laundry. Step outside, go on, you don’t need shoes. The morning sun warmed the concrete, unimpeded by clouds or fog. Notice the air’s stillness. The trees are green from the winter’s rain; the branches don’t move. They look like they’ve been painted there by some fabulous painter. Probably an Italian painter, they do good work.
Say hello to the sun. If you’re into yoga, salute her. She will be your friend today. Your sidekick, your confidant, your heater. And she will stick around for an hour more than she did last week. What a generous and gracious woman, the sun. She’s there for you, fully present, like there is nobody else on earth.
But there are other people on earth, and they’ve congregated where the earth meets the sea. You must go, they’re waiting. You are the missing link. Gather your things, you don’t need much. Sunscreen (a low SPF, now is the time to work on your base tan). A surfboard. Towel. Don’t worry about a volleyball, they already have one down there. A refreshment or six, it will be a long day. Wetsuit. Place it all in your backpack and hop on your beach bike and cruise to the sea.
When your friends drive by in their stinky cars, give them a nod, don’t wave, you may loose control, and keep peddling. They will be jealous of you. They’re wearing shoes and pants and want the freedom of boardshorts and flip-flops—your beach uniform.
When you reach the beach, lock your bike to the prettiest girl’s bike, so you will have to leave at the same time. Walk toward your friends. Once you get to the sand, remove your flip-flops and let the sand surge between your toes. Notice its warmth. The sun did that.
Greet your friends. Before joining them on the warm sand, firmly put the nose of your board in the sand, fins towards the sun so the wax doesn’t melt. Lay down on your towel, shifting your legs and torso in such a way that the sand grooves to your body. The sand, remember, is the original tempurpedic bed. Look at the prettiest girl and say to her, “I locked my bike to yours so we will have to leave together.” She will giggle and think you’re joking.
You will become hot in an hour or so. That’s your friend, the sun, sending you a message. Cool off. You turn toward the ocean and see that the waves look fun. Chest high, glassy, and green. Put on your suit on. Don’t worry about a leash, it’s too constricting on a day defined by freedom. Run, don’t walk, into the ocean. Dunk your head immediately, and let the icy water shock you alert. Ride the waves. Notice the how fast you go. Don’t stress about performing well, relax and goof around. The pretty girl on the beach isn’t watching anyways. Between waves, look at the bits of seaweed that rest on the white sand below. If you fall off your board, let it wash all the way to shore. Bodysurf the next wave. Clasp and extend your hands. Put your head down, see how long you can go without taking a breath. You can go for a while; you’re in good shape from the winter.
Back on the beach, remove your suit on a nearby rock so it doesn’t get sandy. Then drape it on the rock to dry. The sun will help with this. She is high in the sky now. Tall. Proud. Smiling.
Lie down and fall asleep. Let the sun be your blanket. Let the sand be your pillow. Let the voices of your friends and the waves make the white noise a bit more colorful.
“Does anyone want to go in the water?” The sweet voice of the pretty girl will melt into your dream.
Roll over and open your eyes, young man. You will see her walking toward the water. Get up. Walk after her. You will catch up to her at the waters edge, where pretty girls hesitate to enter the sea. She will be glad to see you, and comment about how it got colder once she got to the wet sand. Ensure her that the water will refresh, and walk steadily into the water.
Dive in. The ocean will borrow your breath for a moment, then quickly return it. The pretty girl will follow you. When she rises from her dive she’ll try to let out a squeal, but it will be stifled by her stolen breath. The two of you will exit the water with dripping hair and chicken skin.
Get warm on the sand. Do it now, you don’t have much time. The sun’s descending. You will be upset at the sun for leaving, until you realize her intentions.
“It’s getting cold, I think I’m going to head home,” announces the pretty girl.
“Well…shoot. My bike’s locked to yours. I guess I’ll leave too,” your grin will be coprophagous. You don’t know it, but coprophagous means shit eating.
She will smile, endeared.
Walk toward the bikes, salt crystallizing on your baked skin, and notice how long your shadows stretch on the glowing sand.
As you unlock your bikes, she will say, “I’m hungry.”
“Me too,” you will say. “You wanna get some food?”
She will put her beach bag in the basket of her pink beach bike, and start up the street. You will climb onto your bike, board in one arm, left foot resting on the ground. Push three times with your foot to gain momentum, and then peddle. When you catch up with the pretty girl, it will be silent for a moment. She will speak first, “today was fun.”
“So fun,” you’ll agree.
Look over your shoulder and see the sun disappearing below the horizon. Give it a nod, and silently thank her for such a beautiful spring day. Just before she dips completely into the sea, notice her last burst of orange light. You will swear she winked at you.