A tale of alchemy during divisive diatribes: We were all dressed in black from neck to toe, waiting for our umbrellas in lines that twisted from multiple sites on Main Beach. Some of us came from town, and some from afar—each clutching our release waivers and hoping for one of the thousand umbrellas etched with seashell x-ray mandalas. We heeded instructions—wait for the signal, then open and click on, stay on the sand, no flash photography.
There were clusters of friends, neighbors, families, dancers and, as many individuals—all ages, genders, shapes and heights. The drums started and a wide oval formed around a dance troop that performed as the sun started to set. The sky darkened, the signal came, and the umbrellas went up. One click to light the ribs, a second click to light the pole. My white umbrella with the charcoal shell etching unfurled to my smile, the laugh of others caught by the wonder of theirs, and we started to whirl to the drum dance. Some marched. Some twirled their umbrellas. Others opened and closed theirs. A disorganized order of individuals creating a pattern like blown dandelion puff balls or coral polyp fronds emerging from their skeletons to feed. Pure joy, participation as we eddied from one side of the beach to the other—performing together free of partisan politics and campaigning feuds.
Elizabeth Turk’s Shoreline Project brought Laguna locals and our visitors to play. This is what Laguna is about. Thanks to Laguna Art Museum, the donors, and the participants who made the magic happen.
Deborah Laughton, Laguna Beach