Early, gold hunters show up with wading boots, windbreakers, wide brimmed caps, sunglasses, their gold detectors dipped into frothy water.
The sky, water, and beach run together like a tightly edited film. Everything in this landscape moves but seems to stand still. Clouds blow past, waves roll in, seagulls take flight. A raven stops on a fence. Shell seekers prowl and the gold hunters are left alone with their devices.
They wear headphones that keep their ears listening for upticks, bleeps of sound, excited electronics. All movement cancels itself out, like white noise on a television. If you are still and look straight ahead, all you hear is the wind and all you see is the horizon – frozen in the moment.
Spanish galleons crossed these waters in the sixteen and seventeenth centuries taking gold from the America’s back to Europe. For as much as was lost at sea, many times more got safely back to vaults and banks and the King’s Treasury.The gold funded wars, New World exploration, luxurious court lifestyles, foreign affairs, palaces. Merchants became rich, pirates created legends, and their names were stolen by professional football teams.
While our prospectors move methodically, a middle aged surfer adjusts his gear and prepares for another trip out.
” Not very big waves, ” I suggest.
” They are big enough,” he smiles, ” I am a beginner. ”
Beginning in your fifties is something to write about. He shows me three layers of clothes under his black wet suit that helps insulate him from cold water.
Who is to say who is having more fun – those hunting gold, swimming, or riding waves on a surfboard?
It is a gorgeous day where land meets sea, whether you are on sand or in the water.