As one walks up Thalia street from the sea and crosses Highway 1 on the left is a small red stand and usually a line of hungry humans. A vegan restaurant, The Stand, has been a Laguna institution for as long as I can remember. A great place to find that healthy juice you have craved (I am a fan of the carrot, beet, apple combination), a wheatgrass shot to set you right, or a delicious vegan sandwich wrapped up to take back down the street for a beach picnic. Or you can just sit, as I did snapping this photo, under the large tree at the community table.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Busy days with little time for shooting much less writing. My correspondence with friends is at a low, my brain bouncing from family, to work, to friends back to family. That was, until I hit main beach.
For as long as I can remember I have driven to Laguna and upon hitting main beach, rolled down the windows and taken that first deep breath that means I am home. One of my favorite memories was a Friday night drive from work with the radio blaring, my girl Jessa by my side, and my friend PD trailing behind. It was the perfect end to the day and start to the weekend and I will forever remember the lightness of the moment – all sun and breeze and joy. I can’t help but feel happiness at the sensory experience of hitting main beach.
My routine in Laguna is to get up, grab a camera and head to one of my favorite spots for that first morning coffee. It seems a locals routine – some with dogs, some just finishing that morning run or surf, but all catching up with neighbors and friends. I think that is the best part of the day. Tourists are sleeping and planning their days, but the community that serves them is catching moments in their town. Walking along main beach, sitting on the park bench, I eavesdrop on conversations as varied as upcoming trips and the latest spin studio – all with a sly knowing smile. It is a voyeur’s dream. My routine when I lived here full-time was not much different and now I feel nostalgic for when life was simpler and I felt tethered to a place. I suppose though, I still am; for every opportunity that presents itself I come back to this place I consider home.