Sunday, December 31, 2017


I was just down by the sea wall at the beach, about as close to a town square as there is here, ample considering the main drag is only three blocks long. The wall is usually inhabited by a mix of locals, tourists, homeless people, seasonal gutterpunks and street musicians. The street musicians are of varying skill levels, usually just good enough to put a hat out, which really isn't saying much.

When I was there the sun was going down and there was the usual crowd of sunset watchers, but where they're usually distributed evenly along the wall, today they were concentrated towards one end which happens to be where a friend of mine hangs with his dog. As I got closer I saw why. There were two harpists set up, which as about as uptown as street music gets. The juxtaposition was striking. This neighborhood is sometimes referred to as "a sunny place for shady people" and true to form, not twenty feet away from the harpists was a fucked up homeless dude cussing up a storm in a one sided conversation. My friend was there, with his dog and a lady friend from Finland so I was chatting with them while the harpists were taking a break. When they started playing again it sounded beautiful, I'm mean, it's harps, what other word does harp playing conjure? Particularly in an area that can sometimes be a chaotic sideshow. After they finished, there was a lull and as the sun lowered in the sky towards the ocean, they started playing again, this time Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful World". It was goosebump material. I don't get choked up that often, but the combination of the location, the approaching sunset, the song and the harps, I was on the edge. Taking it all in, feeling very lucky to live near the ocean, lucky to know people like my friend with his dog, everything was hitting me from all sides. A window of gratitude and optimism after a shit year of Trump. Pushing me closer to the edge, they followed it with a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". My eyes were getting watery, and I'm not usually that much of a softy. After that song I sauntered off, What if they did Kenny G next? That would have changed everything. Really though, if you're a beach person, there isn't a better way to end your last ocean visit of the year. Cheers, Neptune.

Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World mp3 at Internet Archive
Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah mp3 at Internet Archive

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