Updated: May 4
Laguna Beach is as close to paradise as you'll get in Southern California.
In Laguna, the art is more sophisticated, the breeze more gentle, the flora more lush, the gelato more sweet, and the homeless more crazy---and beautiful.
Laguna is a breath of fresh air.
Laguna is the air---an injection of fresh oxygen to weary lungs.
As ivy consumes the architecture, so does a sense of peacefulness consume the soul of the visitor. Unkempt becomes beautiful---purposeful even.
Even the birds can feel the calmness. Whether perched atop a branch or meandering in the wet sand, they spend most of their time observing the beauty that is Laguna Beach. They've flown the world over and know this is the place to be.
But enough of that frivolous prose.
Let's talk about the real reason I was in Laguna. I was on a search---a hunt even, for a set of buns which had reached mythological status among Laguna's underground bun-worshiping cult. A set of celestial buns which benevolently grace our terrestrial existence. I'm speaking of the buns of none other than Ashai Watanabe. For those unfamiliar with the Japanese language, Ashai means morning sun---and for many, Ashai's buns are more than that. They are the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Like a dehydrated traveler in the desert I wandered in the sand, often succumbing to a mirage---not of water, but what some would consider a snack. A volleyball player, a lone man watching the waves roll in---to my eyes, everyone was Ashai yet further inspection only indicated nobody was.
Each step of my unfruitful search became merely one more footprint in the cool November sand. Nevertheless, I powered forward with with the crashing waves of the angry Pacific as my soundtrack.
This soundtrack transported me spiritually, allowing me to tap into another dimension.
As I gazed through the lifeguard tower, I found myself peering into another universe---a universe peace, happiness, and fabulous buns. A universe where the ocean was endless and those who bathed in it's cool blue waters received eternal life and everlasting firmness in their derrière.
I was freed from my trance by the sound of children's laughter which was mixed in with the subtle rustling of palms.
What could spark such laughter?
What could have the power to elicit such sublime happiness?
Like a moth to a flame, I flew towards the laughter.
As I closed in on the source, the laughter was eclipsed by a reverence. Spectators knew---I knew---we were in the presence of something special. Drawing our attention---pulling our attention towards the horizon, was a man---the man---regally perched atop a rugged hunk of rock. While his eyes were fixed westward, ours were fixed on his magnificent buns.
I started my journey as a skeptic and ended as a believer.
Camera: Kodak Retina Ib
Film: FujiFilm FujiColor XTRA 400
When: November 2019
Where: Laguna Beach, CA
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