A Stormy Spooky Strange Stroll

A Stormy Spooky Strange Stroll

As my dog Nunzi scoots down the beach ahead of me, I can’t but feel some trepidation on this nasty late night walk. Creeping along the deserted stormy shore, pitch black, no moon and no starlight, wind howling, ocean raging, and to me it all adds up and seems like it could be the perfect setting for a spooky horror movie. One where I would be the perfect dumb character who gets snatched by some supernatural something or other.

WHACK! I almost leap out of my skin when the diabolical wind tosses down a large palm tree branch that smashes right behind me and my startled pooch simultaneously lets out a loud yelp.

Photography of dog walking along stormy Los Angeles beach at night
Dog walking along stormy Los Angeles beach

As Nunzi whimpers beside me, I admonish him that it’s his own fault we’re out here in this scary setting because when I returned home, admittedly after being gone for hours, he insisted a romp along the beach was absolutely mandatory. Since the storm died down and the rain had stopped, I relented. But as the angry surf and nasty wind conspires and blast sheets of cold spray at us, we both agree it’s time we get our butts back home.

We start trudging back and of course the rain starts up again. Swirls of sand are blowing off a berm, and as I squint my eyes, I swear I can see ghostly apparitions mixed in with the particle tornados. Hey, I was sleep deprived and had a long shooting day of flashing strobes and my eyes were beyond beat.

But I didn’t have time to ponder the apparitions because–OOF! I trip over a driftwood log, fall and get tangled up in a large slimy mound of seaweed. I lay there and wince at the pain I feel throbbing in my ankle, which I’m thinking could now be sprained.

A Stormy Spooky Strange Stroll

Nunzi kindly runs back to me and licks up my face—good boy. I try to get up but I slip back down into the slippery seaweed tentacles.

Ok. Now I’m thinking this would be the perfect moment when the movie monster descends upon us. Or maybe that sketchy homeless guy I noticed lurking under the pier is about to descend upon us. I also noticed he had a large pitbull, perfect for eating my gentle canine. And maybe the guy has a meat clever too and will choppity chop and then and then…

WHACK! Another big palm branch falls out of the blustery sky and we both yelp. Then as the gloom and doom reaches a crescendo, I notice a faint shadow falling across my slimed up legs. Yikes. I quickly turn to see…. only another piece of driftwood sticking up in the sand. But then, since I ain’t no dumb bunny, and I’ve been a photographer for years, I brilliantly deduce you can’t have a shadow without having some light.

I notice Nunzi gazing up at the sky and I gaze there as well and spy that there is indeed a faint light starting to glow within a storm cloud. It gets steadily brighter and brighter. Until a giant full moon seems to burst outta the gloom and appears as bright as the sun in this evening context. You could read by this brightness, sunglasses might be called for in this brightness. Hey, remember my eyes were beat.

And oh that moon! This one’s a most magical moon with a couple of glowing pulsating rings around it. Bestest moon I’ve ever seen. And it’s sending shafts of CGI-like beams through the storm clouds and making the whole nasty stormy sky un-nasty and now heavenly-like. You could almost hear an angelic choir even. Almost.

Yes it seems the spooky horror movie we appeared to be trapped in, well, now it appears to be transitioning into one of those gentle inspiring religious type films which you don’t see much of these days. The moon light is filling in the spooky dark places. The rain stops raining. The howling wind becomes a gentle breeze. What the heck is going on here? Nunzi barks in bemusement, slobbers my face and we grin at each other.

And then, a most unusual thing happens, as if this was indeed a spiritual movie we were now being cast in. At first I couldn’t tell if it was due to my sleep deprived mind misfiring or was I starting to really hear a faint angelic choir drifting down from that heavenly looking sky. I do think so. And then, even more bizarre—I also start to hear a whispering voice coming down from that sky.

Oh no, am I having a sudden onset of schizophrenia? I ask my fine canine if he’s hearing anyone too. He nods and gives one of his affirmative barks. Then gazes skyward, cocks his head left and right likes he’s listening to someone and then let’s out a welcoming howl. Ok, since Nunz can hear it too, that rules out schizophrenia for me. Thank God.

The sound is now increasing from whispering to a regular type speaking, and I can’t deny I’m verily hearing the voice of… who???

Voice – “Hey. Hey guys”

Me – “Are you—

Voice – “Quite a fine storm I had brewing. Sorry it freaked you out.”

Me – “Are you God?”

Voice – “Hard to say exactly. Well hard to say in the sense of what your limited mortal mind can comprehend”

Me – “So are you?”

Voice – Hey, whatever floats your boat. If you’re comfortable with that, then sure, why not?

Me – “So can I ask—

Voice – “Just look at this lovely and most magnificent evening I tossed together for you now!”

Me – “Uh, thanks?”

God – “No problem. Why don’t you continue your stroll? Exercise is good for you. Ankle’s fine.”

I feel my ankle and truly feel no pain now. I’ve been miricalized! Slowly I get untangled from the seaweed octopus and rise up and up.

Me – “So I have a few questions for you.”

Voice – “Always with the questions. Not in the mood now.”

Me – “How about just one little–

Voice – “Nope. Look, I’ll give you 20 minutes to stroll under this most beautiful sky. Then I have to continue the water works”

Me – “Ok, sounds good.”

Voice – “Yeah, can’t let California get all droughty again. I love those avocados. Mmm good!”

Me – “I got a real good guacamole recipe I could tell—

Voice – “Yeah, know it. Get moving, you have 19 minutes.”

Nunzi excitedly barks up to… the divine one?

Voice –“Nunzi prefers the Pawluxury duck jerky. That crap Costco jerky you bought just isn’t cutting it.”

Nunzi gratefully brays up at the sky. Then shoots me a look. I guiltily shrug. Then gaze back up to the heavenly sky, give thanks to the Big Kahuna and we merrily commence our stroll down the beach on this luverly and very very strange evening.

written by Gregory Mancuso

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