Joseph O'Brien 6 a.m., Oct. 26
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While the spots on my face are not attractive, they don’t bother me much. Each represents a bit of overexposure in the sun during my life while relishing the sand and water at beaches local and abroad. See the biggest ones next to my left eye? Those are the result of hours upon hours playing beach volleyball in my late twenties and early thirties. I had a crew of friends who met at Marine Street in La Jolla, near the jetty at Mission Beach or several other sandpits in San Diego to play highly competitive games of two-man until we literally could not stand anymore. We slathered on sunscreen, which with perspiration poured into our eyes, rendering us temporarily, stingingly blind and useless to our partners.
The ones further down on my face? Those are probably from sun-glare emitted from the water’s surface primarily while bodysurfing, but as well from any one of a number of water activities I’ve had the good fortune of doing over the years. The feel, the smell of the ocean is etched so strongly in my mind that simply seeing a sliver of blue on the western horizon makes me feel home, makes me taste the salt and the kelp, makes me long for my wetsuit and fins.
Those little ones on the right side of my face are more recent. They are from camping trips, exploring mountains and lakes and going fishing and chasing around my son as he has grown. They are from getting married to my beautiful wife on the stretch of sand in Leucadia where we shared our first summer. They are from moments that made me whom I am—a lover of coasts and cliffs and wind and the elements. A lover of those people with whom I’ve been as the spots formed and combined, as they have darkened and been etched with lines… an imperfect soul with lessons learned and sometimes forgotten, with joys and sadness and experiences and plenty of room to live through as much more as he can.