Miniature World

February 17, 2008
By Legos Gallegos, 29 Palms, CA

I have always loved swimming and more specifically, the ocean. Most of my childhood I spent going to the beach. I have been to many different beaches in California and even one in Oregon. Of all the beaches I have been to, there is one that stands out in my head. I think about it often and long to go there. The Oceanside Pier at Oceanside Beach, in Oceanside Ca. is my favorite place in the whole world, despite the fact that I have only been there a handful of times in my life.

Most of the reason I love this beach more than the others has a lot to do with the pier. For anyone who has not had the privilege of visiting the Oceanside Pier, I greatly suggest they go and do it someday. I don’t remember the first time my parents took me to Oceanside Beach, but since then, our family averages about a yearly visit there. If I was asked to sum up what I love most about this beach in one sentence, I would say this: Seeing human beings involving themselves so much with nature makes the world seem peaceful and simple, even for just a moment. Now let me take you on a journey. The few times I have visited the pier I have seen many things.

To even get to Oceanside Beach, first go to downtown Oceanside. The beach is pretty hard to miss. Find a parking space. Get out of your car and enter the beach. I’m sure there are many entrances, but the only one I have ever been through is characterized by a huge stage, with bleachers for the audience. I have never seen a show there and the only people I have seen around the bleachers are the local high school boys who use the empty stage to jump off of on their skateboards. By now the smell of saltwater is very strong. There is a light breeze and the sun is warm. To the right of the stage are flights of stairs. Ascending these stairs will take you to a magical place- the Oceanside Pier!

At the start of the pier, there are always some types of musicians, whether they are guitarists trying to make a buck for the bus ride to the next city, or a family of advanced violinists who simply wish to spread joy. That is one of my favorite parts of the pier. Being the music lover and fanatic that I am, I can truly appreciate music when I see people playing it, with smiles on their faces, eyes closed and feet tapping, instead of listening to it on a CD and trying to imagine how the artist felt when performing it. The next part of the pier is the pier itself. You know you are on the pier when you look down and see thick, plastic-looking, slabs of wood. These slabs are the basis of the whole pier. Every day, hundreds of people walk on them, dozens of children run on top of them and even a few wheels of various recreational vehicles roll over them. While one should appreciate the slabs, they can get pretty boring to look at. However, if you turn your attention from the ground to the sides of the pier, the fence part that keeps millions of people from falling into the vicious, rhythmic waves below, there is a lot more to look at. On every piece of wood used to build the fence, there are names, names of individuals and families who donated money to help get the pier built back in…… Every time I visit the pier, I look at the names, knowing everyone of those people was a part of history. I think only some people can appreciate history like I do and I don’t know why some people do and some people don’t, but that’s just how it is. I do believe though, that it takes a strong belief and gratefulness of history to enjoy most of the pier. These engraved names stretch from the first plank of wood all the way to the very end of the pier. Along the way, there are looking glasses that act as binoculars. These machines cost a quarter for about one minute of looking time, but from them, one can see the ocean and see that it really does stretch on as far as the eye can see. One can also see the waves and once in a while, seals, dolphins and fish are spotted. At the very end of the pier there is a sit-down restaurant where many tourists and locals alike, stop to eat. The whole pier smells of fish, but it is especially strong at the end of the pier. While all these aspects of the Oceanside Pier are wonderful things, my favorite, perhaps, is what makes these things possible.

The Oceanside Pier is open to anyone and everyone who wishes to go there. In my opinion, the best part of the pier is the people who work on it, the people who enjoy it, and the people who involve themselves in it in any way whatsoever. Every day, local high school students rush there after school to bike, hang out with friends or link arms with their boyfriends and go on a slow, calm walk down the pier. Mothers and fathers jog there in the mornings, children play there, argue there, fall there, and get up again. Fishermen spend hours casting their lines over the fencing into the water below, and always pull something up. Biologists, teachers, parents and inquiring people peer into the binoculars, hoping to catch something. Some people stand next to each other and talk while others hold hands and walk. Curious children stand on tip-toes to see what a man has caught in his bucket and jump back in alarm when the fish inside flops. People from all over the world, of all different backgrounds and all different beliefs enjoy the same sunset, together. These people are the people who enjoy the pier. They are there because they want to be and no one has stopped them. To me, the Oceanside Pier illustrates what life is meant to be about- people uniting, working together and not arguing.

Every time I visit the pier, it makes me think about the whole world, society, people and the things they do. I look at what’s going on at the pier and I dream of a world just like it. The great Pacific Ocean, the animals, the shellfish stuck on the wooden columns, the cool breeze from far beyond and the warm sun all are a part of the natural world. I think it’s an amazing thing when human beings can involve themselves with nature without totally corrupting what it is. If an alien came straight down from Mars and landed on the Oceanside Pier, he might be able to believe that Earth is a peaceful place. These are the reasons I love the Oceanside Pier. To me, it conveys what life is really about.

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