It was an emotional morning. Before My Day Started I had a phone call that played and replayed in my mind and spilled out just before getting off of work. I hadn’t actually planned to try to catch a grunion run again, but I needed my escape hatch. I needed the one that I went to throughout high school that has pretty rocks and attracts more locals. Will Rogers in Pacific Palisades will always be my first choice, but I go to Santa Monica for safety reasons. I spent the evening going back and forth to sit in my car and the rocks of the jetty.
I had a few phone conversations and texted a few people as the evening clouds rolled in and the sun slipped through them and behind the mountains toward Malibu. (It was my perspective and I’m sticking to it.) I watched the runners and quietly thanked them for their dedication to a workout that was God’s gift to me, and poetry in motion. I was much obliged for their offerings to my imagination. I’ve really missed this beach.
As night became early morning, I watched the waves rush in higher and higher toward me. The water was churning into foam and the salted air was ripened with the smell of fish and seaweed. Every few steps, I would crush a bulb of seaweed underfoot. It would burst with a satisfying crunchy pop. There was loud singing and dancing with ear buds testing my eardrums at the highest decibel and shuffling music because I had the entire beach to myself. I could still hear the pounding surf and watched rocks tumble in powerlessness. It was a warm night. It was a beautiful time.
I started to wonder if I was really going to see any grunion. I pictured silver fish writhing and flopping in the sand in a frenzied mating ritual. I didn’t consider that these fish were full of eggs and fish jizz or milt and that they wouldn’t be as energetic as I imagined.
I wasn’t skunked and actually did see a few fish on the sand. At first there were rocks, then there was trash, but eventually I saw fat little fish, glimmering in silvery shine. They seemed translucent. They were full of their reproduction materials and rather than writhe energetically, the fish were abandoned by the waves and seemed to roll back toward sea. They reminded me of a spent phallus.
I looked at these fish and decided it was time to go. I had waited halfway through the expected grunion run window. There is no time in my life to wait around for bad fish porn. I did try to take pictures but the ocean doesn’t look good on camera at night when it’s super dark at Will Rogers. And running from waves to snap pictures of rolling fish was an overrated adventure. I may have laughed and I certainly was enthralled by the siren call of the sea, but sleep is my true mistress.