Just got back from visiting the ocean, and simultaneously finished reading Rebecca and Rebecca's Tale, book and sequel written decades apart by different authors. Big theme in both is the lure of the sea and its mystery. Which of course I thought about as me and my family hiked from our hotel to a suitable spot to watch the sunset over the Pacific.
We found a little overlook situated at the top of a cliff between two multi-million dollar homes. There were two benches and a pleasant little sign warning us about the dangers of erosion. I kept looking at the short distance (six inches?) between the face of the cliff and the fancy wall the homeowner had bordering his property.
Living in the desert, but a short drive from the ocean, I appreciate getting to see it sporadically, and I don't take it for granted. I'm guessing those folks who live so close aren't quite as enamored by it. Or maybe they are and that's why they pay such high prices to establish themselves there. I did notice, though, that only two other locals came to join us on our cliff to watch the sun go down. One was a guy on a bike with an extensive backpack and a brown paper bag with a bottle of wine inside. He poured a plastic cup of wine and tried to light up a cigarette and might have enjoyed watching the sun go down, but it was too darn breezy out there by the ocean so he had to go cower behind a wall to succeed in lighting up the cig.
Below us. Far, far, far below us in the water were two surfers. The sun was by this time making fantastic colors on the water, and the two surfers were right in the very spot where the colors were reflected. I wondered if they realized that. I suppose those guys are examples of people who DON'T take the ocean for granted. They are the true ocean devotees. Their surfing depends on it. Those guys can't just up and move to Indiana like I can. Whenever I go to the beach, I do think a lot about surfers, and not for the reasons you might think. (That's what I'm thinking about the volleyball players, hee-hee). I wonder what they do for money. How far do they live from the water? How many times a week do they get out to catch a wave? What effect does saltwater have on the skin after years of surfing? And my number one most-wondered-about question --- is all that work worth it for the few waves you seem to catch before the sun goes down or the sharks come out? Suiting up, freezing your butt off, paddling and paddling and paddling and getting hit in the face and up the nose with saltwater? It must be.