It starts raining at sunset, flashes of lights in the distance, jarring against the gorgeous pink and yellow of the fading sun- bright and orange on the horizon. Huge in the way it never is in Texas. We pause our yoga practice, the room silent, just for a second. Lifting our heads up, some standing, as we watch it set. And then the lightening begins, far away but visible.
This was the only picture I didn’t take but wish I did.
We move into shavasana, and the stillness fills the room. The instructor says- “You come in here with stress, with worry from your world, and then you look around at all this beauty, and reflect on how lucky we truly are.”
Outside the rain picks up. A light drizzle at first. I walk toward the Manhattan beach pier, two street lamps bright against the dark sky. On top of the bridge I look out into the distance- the waves are intensifying, the wind is blowing my hair in all directions. It never rains in Los Angeles, not since March, they say. They see it as a miracle.
I’m walking briskly on my way to dinner. Trying to make it before the sky fully opens. Jumping from doorstep to doorstep. Couples clutter under overhangs clutching bags and takeout containers as I pass by bright and bustling restaurants and bars. Finally, I am inside. Watching the rain pour heavy against the walls of the restaurant where I eat my crispy rice and spicy tuna and drink hot sake, a warm respite amid the storm.
In the morning I walk two miles to buy an umbrella, before most of the city is awake. I sit on the beach, in my chair (bought the day before) with my umbrella on top of me and watch the waves in the rain. It is cold. The sand is wet. I sit as long as I can. Absorbing the waves, holding my umbrella tight against the wind. I don’t want to leave, but I do.
I stop for a mimosa as big as my head and sit on the patio of a two-story bar with fire as a centerpiece and watch, and warm. The rain stops.
Then: a healing massage in a small room 3 blocks from my hotel, “Trust Me” sushi at a restaurant discovered on Instagram, each bite better than the next, the bright colors and heartbeat of Venice and the beach where I sink my feet into the sand and then later jump in the waves, the power walk for coffee at a tiny tiny hole in the wall on a street I never knew existed, the stunning three level ocean park where puppies frolicked and everyone lay on the grass, eyes to the sky, later shivering in the cold until I drank hot tea made with mint leaves, and a bowl of vegan tortilla soup, the taste exploding in my mouth, warming me up.
Then the final yoga of my trip, a tradition now. An almost private class on Venice Beach. The vinyasa made even more powerful by the wind in our hair, the crash of the waves. “Turn your neck to face Santa Monica.” the instructor says. And we do.
Again, we stopped and watched the setting sun. Closer this time. Moving slower and slower until the final acceleration as it sank into the ocean.
We are transfixed. Eyes on the horizon.
We don't say a word.