Our dear friend Elena and I decided to meet at the beach one afternoon last week. We were pleasantly surprised when San Geraldo came strolling along the surf and joined us.
|WE WERE SO HAPPY TO BE GRACED WITH HIS SMILING PRESENCE.|
Until last week, San Geraldo had been on the beach three times in the year-and-a-half we’ve lived by the sea — four if you count the night we watched the Virgin of Carmen get carried into the water (click here). So now we’re up to four or five times depending on how you count.
|THE GODDESS ELENA AND SAN GERALDO.|
When we lived in San Diego, I loved Black’s Beach in La Jolla. It’s a nudist beach reached by descending a very steep and unstable cliff. There were three ways down. The closest one to the area I liked was simply rock-and-dirt, almost vertical in spots. I rarely took that route.
The next closest way down comprised a long and winding set of boardwalks, wooden stairs, and dirt and rock steps. There were regular landslides. Unauthorized volunteers randomly replaced lost stairs and walkways. It was a bit treacherous in spots, but I didn’t mind it even though there were official signs warning, “KEEP OFF.”
On the few occasions San Geraldo joined me at Black’s Beach, he would insist on taking the third route down. A mile or more away was a locked gate at the top of the cliff in a residential neighborhood of hotel-sized homes.
San Geraldo — being a big man on campus (University of California, San Diego) — was given a key to the gate, which meant we could drive down a long and winding road and park at the bottom. We then had to walk along the beach for about 45 minutes.
|BLACK’S BEACH, LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA, AROUND 1997.
(WE DROVE DOWN. MY USUAL WAY DOWN, AND UP, IN BACKGROUND.)
It was worth it except that when I went to the beach alone, I carried a tiny backpack containing my towel, water, and a book. When I went with San Geraldo, in addition to my tiny backpack, we carried a huge duffle bag with a blanket, a multitude of towels, and lots of food and water.
San Geraldo wore a broad straw hat to protect his admittedly extremely sensitive light blue eyes from the sun. And there was the chair and the beach umbrella. San Geraldo talked about getting a wagon or sled to drag along the beach! (I told him I would no longer go with him.)
We would set up, remove our clothes, and then San Geraldo would spread a beach towel on his chair and sit down in the shade of the umbrella. He wrapped a towel around his shoulders and another over his lap so it would reach down and cover his feet. He wore his hat and his sunglasses.
“There’s nothing like the freedom you feel on a nude beach,” San Geraldo would say.
Although our beach here is not clothing optional, Elena got a very good idea of how San Geraldo used to look in our La Jolla days.
|GERALDO OF ARABIA. THAT’S MY T-SHIRT ON HIS HEAD.|