Luminescence

Last night I broke the rules and went to the ocean. I saw a FB post about the Luminescence on the beaches from Baja Mexico up to Santa Barbara and within 10 minutes, my shoes were on my feet, my son Noam was recruited (he needs fresh air anyway, I think he is growing moss there, stationed as he is for eons at a time in front of his computer). Down to the car, giddy in the night air, and we were on our way. Did I know that going to the beach in LA was against the LA county rules? I suppose I did, but my feet and body decided for me before I could even consider it. I was called and pulled and I had to go, right now, to see it/them (the luminescence is caused by living organisms, after all). 

It seems others heard the same call. Quietly, with face masks on, keeping careful distance, people parked their cars on the alleyways leading to the beach. No one as much as looked at anyone else, but all were walking down with great excitement and spreading out on the cool soft sand. 

And there they were! Glowing, giant, slithery, electric blue waves, starting deep in the water and rushing forward, disappearing before they reached the shore. Everyone watched, entranced. Not every wave was glowing blue- only one in so many. we waited for them, calling out in excitement each time one appeared, up the beach, down the beach, you could not know where the next one would be. In the people's exclamations (in mine, as well): pent up longing as deep as the ocean itself. The call of a famished lover. An empty lung, starving for air. A reflection, hungering for itself. A burning bush, but in the form of blue water. Electric, bright and blue; burning ice-blue water. 

And a nervousness: would the police come to send us home/ are we contributing unwittingly to a spread (surely not)/will the car, parked on a red marked curb, get ticketed/will we get ticketed. 

But overpowering those thoughts: the waves, and the exclamations. The glorious fresh air, the endless dark sky. People so separate, behind masks, in the dark, far apart-- and never closer. 

The thought arose, and settled in: this might be the beginning of time, or this might be the end of days. There might not be anything left but this. 

And that would be fine. 

I felt the universe as a cathedral, my heart as the alter, the blue waves the priestesses- or God's tongues- or millions of little beautiful organisms existing in simple electric bliss in the salty water- all of that, or something else, any scientific explanation one could throw at this doesn't change that fact that we were, and are, part of a miracle.

It was time to go home, let our hardworking cops stay busy with more important things than dispersing awestruck fools on the beach.                                       image(c)Aimee Ginsburg Bikel

14 comments

  • Eve I.
    Eve I. Boulder
    Thank you for remiing me of the magical luminescence of the "red tide". The first time I saw it, from my tiny apartment on Venice Beach in the '70's, I thought my date had spiked my drink. Such a gift; so magical.

    Thank you for remiing me of the magical luminescence of the "red tide".
    The first time I saw it, from my tiny apartment on Venice Beach in the '70's, I thought my date had spiked my drink.
    Such a gift; so magical.

  • Rabbi Sarah
    Rabbi Sarah Portland
    Aimee, Your writing is magical. I didn't know that about you: I have heard you speak and that was wonderful as well. As far as miracles go, every time we remember to stop and breathe, we can witness the miracle of life. Thank you for this special reminder.

    Aimee, Your writing is magical. I didn't know that about you: I have heard you speak and that was wonderful as well. As far as miracles go, every time we remember to stop and breathe, we can witness the miracle of life. Thank you for this special reminder.

  • Kelley Stein
    Kelley Stein Woodland Hills Ca
    This is so beautiful, 10 years ago when my son ,Jared , was in school at UC Santa Barbara I would drive up the coast and one year I saw the bio luminescence. It was amazing! I’m so glad that you got to experience this phenomena . It is poetry . And it’s so good for the soul. Hugs Kelley Stein .

    This is so beautiful, 10 years ago when my son ,Jared , was in school at UC Santa Barbara I would drive up the coast and one year I saw the bio luminescence. It was amazing! I’m so glad that you got to experience this phenomena . It is poetry .
    And it’s so good for the soul. Hugs
    Kelley Stein .

  • Amit  Kapoor
    Amit Kapoor New Delhi
    Shabash Aimee on your new website and on this tremendous blog. Makes me want to visit Goa again: which I did the first time after your great article in Outlook Traveller. Namaste’ from Delhi.

    Shabash Aimee on your new website and on this tremendous blog. Makes me want to visit Goa again: which I did the first time after your great article in Outlook Traveller. Namaste’ from Delhi.

  • Harold Lessure
    Harold Lessure Pittsburgh, PA
    Thank you always for sharing your insight with thoughtful, careful and inspiring language. It is a pleasure to sit by your writing table and share with you your views of the world.

    Thank you always for sharing your insight with thoughtful, careful and inspiring language. It is a pleasure to sit by your writing table and share with you your views of the world.

  • Jeannine
    Jeannine NJ
    I haven't been to the beach in years, but your story took me there. Thank you.

    I haven't been to the beach in years, but your story took me there. Thank you.

  • Howard Garfinkle
    Howard Garfinkle Netanya Israel
    Aimee thanks for such a vivid description of a phenomenon I'd never heard of before.

    Aimee thanks for such a vivid description of a phenomenon I'd never heard of before.

  • Shifra
    Shifra Los Angeles
    Beautiful! I was encouraged to go as well, but my inertia was greater than the pull to the miracle. My loss, no doubt.

    Beautiful! I was encouraged to go as well, but my inertia was greater than the pull to the miracle. My loss, no doubt.

  • Carol Lessure
    Carol Lessure Ann Arbor
    I loved this post and shared it with my teen. We went on a bio-luminescence kyak tour at night near the Kennedy Space Center and this post brought us back to that happy time.

    I loved this post and shared it with my teen. We went on a bio-luminescence kyak tour at night near the Kennedy Space Center and this post brought us back to that happy time.

  • Molly
    Molly New York
    I needed this! Thank you for sending some magic to covid ridden nyc!!!!!

    I needed this! Thank you for sending some magic to covid ridden nyc!!!!!

  • Adam
    Adam Upstate NY
    How cool! Thank you for sharing the experience so eloquently.

    How cool! Thank you for sharing the experience so eloquently.

  • Toba
    Toba Waltham MA
    So beautiful, both words and picture, thank you Aimee!

    So beautiful, both words and picture, thank you Aimee!

  • Danielle
    Danielle Los Angeles
    gorgeous missive. made me want to go see it. love your work x

    gorgeous missive. made me want to go see it. love your work x

  • Nessa
    Nessa New York
    So vivid and magical in description! I wish I could stand there with you and see it for myself, but your writing is the next best thing. Thank you for sharing this.

    So vivid and magical in description! I wish I could stand there with you and see it for myself, but your writing is the next best thing. Thank you for sharing this.

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