Monday night in Mormon families often means Family Home Evening*. Our particular take on that for this week was Family Beach. We wheeled our bikes into and then out of the elevator, and about 20 minutes later we were at the Mediterranean. We hitched our mounts to a bike rack by an extremely cool playground (more on that in future), and soon we were walking in the softest sand imaginable, thinking how sweet a life we live.
It was a cooler night than we’ve been having, and cloudy. I assumed we would spend a little time looking for shells, and wouldn’t go in the water, but the waves proved irresistible. The combination of the cool air and the surprisingly warm waves lapping around our legs was genuinely delicious. We watched some surfers in a loose formation near the jetty; we watched runners and walkers, people of all ages.
We watched the subtle and amazing color patterns in the sand as the waves receded. We found lovely little bivalve shells and sea glass, and scraps of various kinds of seaweed. El Guapo collected a new set of juggling balls. I’m not sure what sort of sea plant they began as, but the back-and-forth motion of the waves and sand does a perfect job of felting the fibers into strange brown balls that feel great in the hand. We’re not yet sure whether we will continue to be charmed by them after they’ve spent some time at home.
In my experience, the beach in the evening is a different place. When our daughter Limonada was here in May, she wanted to be at the beach a lot–she was determined to get some color. Daytime at the beach meant more toplessness than we’re used to, more people asking us if we wanted a massage, or a beer, or a temporary tattoo, or a fresh chunk of coconut. For some of us, it meant more sunscreen.
In the evening, we’re past the need for sunscreen, which I see as a big plus. We’re also past toplessness, another plus, in my opinion. No one offers to sell us anything. And there’s something about the feel of the water when the air has begun to cool that I find hard to resist.
*We’re coming up on the 99th anniversary of Family Home Evening being a thing. First proposed in August of 1915, it’s often a Monday thing, a time to get the family together. Some will say it’s got to have a spiritual component. Others will say it’s got to have a fun activity. Still others will admit that it rarely happens without some sort of scuffle (most usual in families with children of middle years, say, ages 2 to 19), but you might get the biggest majority declaring that it’s got to have treats. I grew up calling them “refreshments,” but whatever you call them, they seem to be an important feature.