Beach Feet | Mark Lindsay

In summer, by the time little kids and golden labs arrive at Muir Beach I'm normally long gone. Kids and dogs scare away the birds and I prefer squawking birds to screeching kids. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves at our favorite places at unexpected times. And here I was at Muir Beach at peak hour.

A woman screamed at her dog from a distance. The dog's tail was straight up and wagging at her in complete defiance. He had no intention of heeding her plaintive cry to follow her to the car. He went the other way, towards the surf. The woman, behaving as if her lover had just left her for a younger woman, stormed off, cheeks rosy from either anger or the brisk, foggy breeze.

The dog did not look back as he stooped down to take a crap. Once leaving his business on the beach he ran back to the car, figuring all would be well again with his companion. Typical male. He left the cleanup to a woman in a long, flowing skirt who came by and kicked some loose sand over his steaming pile. Watching the entire drama from a distance I reminded myself to get to the beach much earlier next time.

The kids were much better behaved than the woman and her pooping dog. They frolicked in the surf, spinning in concentric circles as the incoming tide licked their feet. Several ran past me while I was photographing bits of jellyfish that had washed upon the beach. The spinning kids and I practically collided, they doing their thing, I doing mine. The defecating dog still fresh in my mind's eye, I was probably looking at the ground more than normal, watching out for other oblong piles.

Looking down at the ground was an unexpected gift. It was there that I found a handful of new photos, including the one shown here. It is of a girl and her father playing in the surf. It seemed to capture the moment perfectly and made me glad to be at Muir Beach during its busy hours. The kids turned out be a joy. That woman and her dog? Well, I hope they made up.