Friday, April 29, 2011

An Easter of Peace

I've been thinking about our Easter day on the beach. Next to us was a large group with a huge rectangular canopy. Under it were three grills, numerous coolers and boxes of food. The members of this party were families from all different ethnic backgrounds, including Hawaiian, one of whom wore a shirt with the sovereign Hawaiian movement emblem on it.

This group's teenaged sons dug a hole in the sand in front of where we sat with our three beach chairs, a small umbrella and one cooler of food and drinks.

From babies to teenagers, I watched the group of 14 kids playing in the sand and surf.
Two boys around six years old laughed with delight as the older boys took the shovels away from the hole and buried the younger boys' feet in the sand so they couldn't move.

The two boys, one Caucasian, the other, Asian, threw clumps of sand at each other. I was waiting for the inevitable fight to start, but it didn't. They weren't throwing sand at each other, they were trying to see who could throw sand the closest to the other one's feet without stepping out of their buried state. They congratulated each other when they threw a close clump of sand.

When the hole was dug about three feet deep, the older boys and girls ran into the water to body surf. The younger kids jumped into the hole and ran around inside it as if it was their own fort. They slid and climbed and imagined. I smiled watching them play in the sun.

A day at the beach in California usually involves loud music, coolers of beer, drunken fights over sometimes imagined insults, kelp washing up on the shore with cigarette butts and other small trash. The Latinos stay in one area, the Caucasians in another and the African-Americans and Asians (if even found at the beach) are in their own groups.

No music blared on this Hawaiian beach. No fights broke out. Every ethnic background, every age and every walk of life, co-existed on that beach, usually within the same group. The only exception I could see was the military families.

The music we listened to that day was from the ocean waves lapping on the shore, the wind blowing down from the mountains and rustling the fronds of the palm trees and of the keiki (children) laughter.

When the group next to us packed up, the boys filled the hole they had dug in order to leave the beach as they had found it.

On Easter Sunday, a beach full of people had a peaceful day enjoying each other's company and Mother Nature's gifts. If only the whole world could spend every day on a Hawaiian beach.