I woke up in the back of the van, alone. It was hot. I leaned up on one arm and looked out the windshield to see where I was. Tommy must be surfing. I wiggle into my brown crocheted bikini and pull my hair back into a pony tail. "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is in the tape deck and I wonder if this is what I want to listen to right now. I’m thinking I might want to smoke a joint and listen to some Pink Floyd, but it’s really not important.
As I navigate my way up to the front seat the beach catches my attention. The waves are small but perfectly formed. There are maybe five or six surfers in the water. The sun is at their backs and it feels like there is nothing else in the world but this small stretch of beach and the ocean and the sky. When I swing my legs around I look out the passenger window and see the dead surfboard stuck to the tree. I think it was Robo’s board that he got pissed off at a week or two ago and slammed it up against the tree. A branch from the tree stuck through the board and the board has been a part of the tree ever since. Someone spray painted it with the words “Locals Only”. There’s really not much need for a sign. Once in a blue moon some out of town surfer might show up here but it’s rare.
Private beaches are a perversion actually. The beach should be free and open to all. It’s a nice theory anyway. Sadly if beaches aren’t maintained and monitored and policed to some degree they are often abused. It seemed sad when the parks were closed at night. The county passed an ordinance that all public parks would be closed from sundown to sunrise every day. It sure changed our lifestyle. Of course our lifestyle is the reason for the ordinance. Because of our parties and consumption of illegal substances at our parties your picnic or nature walk or shell gathering must end before the sun sets. It’s funny, we didn’t like being controlled by law enforcement and government, but when I look back on it, it was us controlling them to a large degree. No matter what you give a living creature all he wants is freedom. It took a long time for me to learn this. I certainly didn’t know it in 1971 while sliding out of the van and down to the shore to coax the boys in so we could get breakfast somewhere.