The stretch of Route 101 that runs from Torrey Pines State Beach to Encinitas is my stomping grounds. This coastal scenic drive that meanders through Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Encinitas always takes my breath away. Even if I don’t have time to spend at any of the beaches that dot the coastline, I would often hop in the jeep with the top off and drive north just to clear my head. The wind whipping through my hair, the radio on full blast, and an eye full of the surf was always good medicine for any ailment.
Even though it was Sunday, I knew it would be busy. So, we decided to meet at 9:30 a.m. at one of my favorite coastal eateries, Ki’s Restaurant, for fresh juice and parking. Located in Cardiiff-by-the-Sea, this organic, vegan, and allergen-friendly spot is one of my go-to places to bring friends and family visiting from out of town. Conscious about eating healthy, I knew Stacey would love it.
A “Razzle Dazzle Berry” smoothie for her and a “Super Mix” of beet, carrot, parsley, carrot, and spinach juices for me, we grabbed our drinks and hit the beach. It was a glorious sight. Blue like hydrangeas, the sky was erased of all clouds but one. Just below the sun, it lingered like a white smudge of chalk on a blackboard, the last shred of evidence of school.
The surf was picture perfect. Shiny like tinfoil, the tops of the waves shimmered in the sunshine as they rolled in from the horizon. Tirelessly, each wave fought to jump over the next as they raced to shore. It was as if the ocean was just as excited to welcome her visitors as we were excited to see her.
Stasia took her sneakers off so her feet could grip the sand. As we walked and talked we were amazed at how quickly the beach filled up with people. People of all ages came out on this timeless Sunday morning. Runners, walkers, surfers, and sunbathers, they all came out. College-aged guys tossed the Frisbee. A gang of boys in wetsuits hit the waves. Fathers dug holes in the sand and helped build sandcastles with their children. Mothers held their babies by their hands as they took their first steps toward the shore. And, dogs flirted with other dogs as they splashed in the water. No one wore masks except for a few senior citizens hugging the shore as they walked the beach. Everyone was happy. Everyone looked relieved. And, everyone felt free.
As we were walking, I just happened to be looking down when I saw a cell phone lying face down in the sand. I almost didn’t notice it as the case was a creme color decorated with glitter. We looked around and clearly no one left it there on purpose, right in the middle of the beach. So, I picked it up to turn into the lifeguard stand when suddenly Melanie, the owner, called.
When we approached her to hand over the phone, her friend exclaims, “Hey, we saw you guys walk by before!”
“I can’t believe you saw it,” Melanie says, grinning ear to ear. “I had called it three times already and was afraid no one saw it! I knew I dropped it the minute I didn’t see it in the side pocket of my bag.” Pointing to her backpack, I could see how she dropped it. It wasn’t a pocket after all. It was a loop on that side of her bag. The pocket was on the other side.
“If I had lost it in Mission Beach yesterday, forget it,” she added. “It was ridiculously crowded!”
“You got good karma coming your way,” her friend added.
Good karma? It was a sunny deed for a stranger on a sunny day. Needless to say, I didn’t do it for good karma. I did it because I know what it’s like to lose a phone. Losing a phone feels like you have lost complete touch with the world as you know it. You feel naked and helpless. Even though it’s not the end of the world, it feels like it. Phones have become a way of living and connecting with the entire world. Phones have become our life.
From sheltering in place to watching riots on TV, the past few months have already done so much to make us feel naked, helpless, and like the world is ending. To add insult to injury, being unable to enjoy the activities we once did with the people we love felt like punishment for a crime we didn't commit.
No matter how much video conferencing we do, video games we play, movies we watch, texting, or even calling we do, nothing replaces being out in the world. We are creatures who are meant to connect with the people and environments around us on a physical level. Our toes need to wiggle in the sand. Our bodies need to splash in the water. And, our faces need to feel the caress of the wind as we rush by the surf.
I was just as grateful to find Melanie’s phone. I was just as happy that she could remain connected with her loved ones. I was just as relieved that she didn't have to pay for a new phone. It was a small deed. But, it felt like a huge victory in the context of today’s world. That’s what made an already good day even better.
It was a good day for a good deed. A good deed is like a kiss of summer. It's bright, warm, welcoming, and kind.
A kiss of summer, it was a good day to spend time in nature with a friend, too. Spending time in nature and connecting with others are great examples of self-care. Practicing self-care is practicing aloha, which is anything that benefits your mind, body, or spirit with love, kindness, and compassion. Every day is a good day to treat ourselves and each other with love, kindness, and compassion. Every day is a good day to practice aloha.
I'm ready for summer, my Pineapple. Are you?
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.