Math on the Beach

While our East coast friends are stuck in the cold, here in LA, the desert flowers are blooming. I went to the beach to do my physical therapy sand walking on a Tuesday at the end of February. And it was much more than therapy for my body. Rain had fallen the day before, which in LA is a rare and sky-changing thing.

TheWholeRuth Rain AlmostLooksLikeSnow

The sky always changes as it rains, but here, it’s the sky the day after the rain that makes the whole town look different. There is usually a black dust in the air from pollution and it’s on the cars, on the porches, even on the window sills- on the inside of the house. The rain gives the city and its sky a bath. (The inside of the house is up to you.) The next day is clear and blue… And puffy, plump white clouds stretch their arms, sometimes with puffy, plump deep gray clouds rumbling punches behind them, ready to rain again. It’s beautiful. I like to imagine that the day after rain is how it must have looked in the 1920’s when Charlie Chaplin lived here. It’s a time machine day where we get to see it as he did.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth Beach Physical Therapy Chaplin

The beach was therapy for my soul and my foot. It was wildly windy, in a way I’ve never seen it. As I lay on the blanket I brought, the wind would whip around the sand so much that whatever part of the blanket I wasn’t covering, would just look like sand. At some points, I had to cover my head with my towel so I wouldn’t drown in air-sand. Even though that doesn’t sound peaceful, the sun was hot, the breeze was cool, and there was something animalistic and freeing about letting the sand do what it wanted around me like I was lying in the middle of a tribe of sand grains who were chanting and dancing, mad with joy. I felt honored that they let me be there.

And when I stood and walked around, the blowing sand stayed low and I could breathe the brisk salt air and enjoy feeling my foot roll through and my leg extend further back behind me than it has in years, knowing the next step would come and this would continue on in a rhythm that makes me feel like a Lion Queen.

I was even smitten with the sun light in the bathrooms.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth beach bathrooms

I’ve been going to the beach about twice a week for physical therapy for a few weeks now. Sometimes it’s in the day and I get to go in the water up to my waist. A friend asked later if the water was cold, and since the Pacific is usually like ice, it was the first time I remembered that it probably was cold. But it hadn’t dawned on me. When I’m there alone, I’m not worried about someone else being uncomfortable in the water with me and I can get lost in the gratefulness to be walking, in the ocean, in the middle of the day, on a weekday, in February. I remembered that when I’m there, I first set my toes in with the intention to ice them, since I have to do that three times a day anyway. And it’s so exciting to be leg wrestling with the waves that all of a sudden, I’m in up to my thighs and it doesn’t feel cold at all. Sometimes I go at night and there are bonfires. Once, a woman in a bikini top and a flowing skirt was juggling flaming rings. Sometimes I go for fifteen minutes in my jeans, just to take off my shoes and let my feet move through the sand.

When I walk there, I can roll through my foot with no pain. I can only walk in five-minute increments, rest, and repeat, but it feels so wonderful to be able to do that. And it’s adding up.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth Palm Trees Snow Mountains