This I Believe

Michael - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

If there is one thing I’ve learned from growing up on the beach, it is patience.

Patience is taking the time to put on socks before walking across the sand on a hot summers day; if you don’t your feet will surely burn. Patience is waiting for the lifeguard to go off duty so you can take your dog on that evening walk along the shore. Patience is waiting for low tide so you can drive up the coast and explore the rocks and the many creatures that inhabit them in Leo Carrillo. Patience is waiting for the right moment to turn out onto the traffic of Pacific Coast Hwy. Patience is waiting for that perfect wave to surf towards shore. And Patience is waiting for that long anticipated moment when a fish finally sinks its jaws into the sharp hook at the end of your line.

As a child, my journey from my home to the shore seemed endless. First I had to wait for my parents to apply sun block as I tried my best to be still. I waited patiently by the bike path for skaters, runners, bicyclists for a chance to pass by and continue my journey to the shore. I witnessed people with metal detectors and sand sifters searching endlessly for coins and other metal objects. I witnessed fishermen tugging on their lines and reeling them in only to find they had seaweed or plastic bags caught on their hooks. My sister and I would spend endless hours making forts and building castles in the sand. We would catch in our pails hundreds of tiny sand crabs. In my adult life, the journey to the shore seems much shorter than it once was. It could be that I’ve become accustomed to the walk or because my legs have grown, but I believe that it is because I have acquired patience.

Whenever I come home from school feeling stressed, I rely on the beach for comfort. The beach is my escape from the city life. When I’m down near the water there is no honking, no lines, no technology and no tensions. Just the warm sand, the cool breeze and the sound of waves crashing on the sandy shores. Once I set foot on the sand of the beach all my problems from the day diminish. The physicality of open spaces of the open ocean and the endless horizon nurtures patience. For me Santa Monica Bay is akin to Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

I believe in patience. I believe it is a very important quality, especially for citizens of L.A. and other large cities. The peaceful sights and sounds of nature I have experienced growing up on the beach have had a great influence on my becoming a more patient person.