Normally I like to go to Muir Beach very early in the morning, long before the summer crowds start to fill up the small beach. Muir Beach is best experienced alone, save a few turkey vultures, oyster catchers, seagulls, or pelicans. I like the sand when it's freshly combed by the surf and before myriad footsteps and paw prints muss it all up. Yet, sometimes I arrive late and the party has started without me. On those occasions, the beach is full, the day's story already unfolding.
On the particular day when I made this photo, I walked down from Mt. Tamalpais onto the beach during a long hike. Starting above the fog, I descended into a netherworld of beach activity. Intense little groups had formed, each in its own pod of activity. Everyone seems so content on a beach, as if they were self-contained, exploration units, completely equipped with all that is necessary for the sustainment of a satisfying life.
The fog muffled the childrens' cries of glee. And the barks of over-stimulated dogs. The birds had already had breakfast and were gone, yielding to the frenzy of happy beachcombers. I don't stay long when the beach is full, but I sat and imagined stories of the groups of people around me. I wondered about their lives and their connection to one another. Was this a chance encounter, or were we all meant to converge at this moment on this day?
After resting my legs, I stood and brushed off the sand. I looked around once more and made this photo. I then went off, climbed out of the fog and back to Mt. Tamalpais once again. Soon, I could see the beach from afar, the people I just met reduced to ant-like figures. Then the fog completely obscured them as I went back home.