Friday, January 08, 2016

A Perfect Walk on the Beach

We sat on towels on the warm sand.  It was a small beach next to a traditional Mexican cemetery, hence the name "Playa de los Muertos."

We read passages from José Ingenieros and asked each other questions: What does it mean to live your life in pursuit of the "ideal"? And, halfway into your quest, what if your concept of "ideal" changes because what sounded good on paper did not really align with expectations? In Ingenieros's world, the "ideal person" is not particularly flexible.

How strange it is that we can agree conceptually, but then things fall apart when they meet the physical constraints of the body and of nature.

For example, take something as simple as walking barefoot on a beautiful, sandy beach. The sand is natural, and has not, as in the case of so many other beaches, been trucked in from somewhere else. The vegetation is natural, not landscaped as in the case of beach resorts. We are on an actual ocean and not a replica or simulacrum such as Disney World or Las Vegas.

So, it's not perfect, and yet it is perfect.

Walking on the sand barefoot puts me on edge, like the sound of brakes when the brake pads have worn through. For others, walking barefoot in the sand feels like a nice foot massage.

We argue about it. It's not a serious argument, though.

He wins. So we walk along the surf's edge, his face relaxed.

I try to convince myself I actually enjoyed the sensation of a thousand tiny needles. Massage? Sand acupuncture? Pick your poison.

I love sharing moments in nature, so I'm willing to endure the discomfort, and then reflect later that the discomfort was what rendered the moment potentially transcendent.

It's a matter of living in the moment. I embrace the colors of the sun, the sky, the surf, and the scent of the ocean air filling my lungs.  I am alive to the prickling needles in my feet. I'm alive to the flow of words, impressions, shared ideas. I love it all.

The magic that makes this beach truly bewitching is the power of the mind and the untouched natural beauty that triggers human warmth.