I just got back from Carmel(by the Sea)in California. With a packed schedule of talks, workshops, and openings, I only had three chances to get to the beach. Like most of us, I love the beach, especially now, smack dab in the middle of the worst drought in New Mexico's recorded history. The first time I went it was early in the morning, and I jogged the length of the beach, and then back. It's a dog friendly beach, and lots of people were out with their dogs. It made me feel good watching them run and retrieve and shake and roll and pant and trot through the sand with their friends, both human and canine. No leashes. The next time I came to the beach it was a little more crowded. It was a warm Sunday in Northern California, and people had streamed over the mountains to spend the day there. The water was very cold, so most of the people were on the beach, laying in the sun or walking along the water in bikinis and board shorts. Kids, mostly, would run in and out of the surf, screaming when the cold water hit their legs and feet. The third time I came back was later that same day, with a friend. We stood on the bluff overlooking the beach and watched as the sun went down. It was chilly, and I had to borrow two of his jackets, feeling like a little girl in the large fleece pullovers. There were fires all up and down the beach, little dots of yellow on the huge expanse of white sand, people sitting quietly as the tide headed back out.