Beach walking is random community building

Naomi and I with Strand mountains as our backdrop
Today was a “chill” day as my daughter, Sasha, would say. You can just do random things in teenage-speak. No planning, no deep thinking about anything in particular – go with the flow.

  My random chill day culminated in a walk along Sunrise beach, Muizenberg with my best friend, Naomi. We trudged along the shore, filling in the spaces with Naomi’s new relationship with V and other niknaks.

There is the spontaneity of seashores and playful waves that is infectious. You seldom encounter a surly beach walker. Even our four-legged friends will display random affection to strangers and strike up a conversation.

Today Billy, the golden brown Jack Russel, with his rainbow tennis-sized ball, initiated conversation with us. Naomi and I were perched on the rocks where the Zeekoevlei River flows into the sea, chatting happily when Billy arrived. Billy was having none of this closed, private conversation on open public seashores. He yapped at us, nudged his ball and gave a slight whine as we looked at him. He nudged his ball again, cocked his head, looking at us expectantly. We got the message; he wanted us to play with him.

So there we were, taking turns to pelt the ball down the beach with Billy in hot pursuit. He was in doggy heaven, racing to retrieve his prized possession, plonking it near our feet and then waited for the ball to be thrown in any direction. Billy’s owner explained that Billy had just recovered from a traumatic episode. He was no longer an only child; his sister, a cat joined the family a few weeks ago. Now, says Billy’s mom, Billy has adjusted and poor Kitty sister has to tolerate his display of love. One of Billy’s favourite sibling sports is to tackle Kitty and sitting right on top of her.

Finally we were released from the ball-throwing exercise. Walks along the beach are random community networking  moments. Billy, the pint-sized Jack Russel became the leader, building bridges between random people who would never have taken the time to connect in such an authentic way.

We need more Jack Russels to help us shed our masks.


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