By Eliana Flores-Barber
It’s a cloudy morning, the colors are dull, and there’s a slight breeze. At 5:30 am, there are not many people out at Bluff Park. Those few who are ‘up and at it’ are taking advantage of the empty space to get in an early morning workout: running, walking the dog, or riding a bike.
The park is quiet, with faint sounds of birds chirping, cars driving by, and trees swaying back and forth with the wind. Out towards the dark horizon you see 12 cargo ships heading north, all waiting to unload at the port. Right next-door is Downtown Long Beach where one can see the iconic black and red funnels of the Queen Mary.
The park stays quiet for most of sunrise, a few local residents popping in and out for their morning workouts. It isn’t until 10 am that visitor traffic at the park picks up.
Slowly the clouds move away, leaving a canvas on which the sun can brighten all colors of the environment. The sky bright blue, the ocean a vibrant turquoise darkening with distance, the green grass decorated by small white and pink flowers buzzing with small yellow pollinators. It is your typically picturesque Southern California landscape with the added bonus of our local Long Beach residents.
At 10:30 am, the early birds start walking in with yoga mats and water bottles, dressed in athletic gear. They roll out their mats and begin stretching before the 11 am Bluff Park yoga class, a class held every day at the same hour and free (donation-based) for all to join. Slowly the park fills up with yogis as they find their spot on the grass.
The yoga class, accessible to people of all ages, is a perfect way to start your morning. If you aren’t a yogi, no need to worry, this yoga class incorporates moves for all levels.
At 11:10 am the yoga class starts and everyone joins in with the warmup. The instructor, Blakwatter, is a lively and loving individual who encourages everyone to experience yoga in their own way. Throughout the hour-long class, other Long Beachians make their way up and down the Bluff, periodically stopping to take in an ocean view. On the Bluff’s southern end, small groups of friends are enjoying each other’s company as they eat lunch. The most popular activities at this park include running, dog-walking, biking, yoga, and hanging with friends.
Back at the northern part of the Bluff, Blakwatter is guiding the class through different stretches. By 12:10 pm everyone slowly packs up their yoga gear – the daily class has ended.
As the day progressively gets warmer, a slight breeze keeps people returning. There is, however, a significantly smaller crowd than earlier in the day.
From 2:30 - 5 pm, a variety of folk visit the park for small periods of time. The scenery seems to capture most people’s attention. Many stop to look out towards the ocean before going on with their day.
The prime hours at Bluff park are 11 am – 2 pm and around 7:30 pm when sunset occurs.
At all Bluff Park locations, one has a perfect view of the sunset. As the sun slowly descends, the sky turns orange and shadows begin to fill the park. The bright colors that dominated the park during morning hours have now mellowed to a vivid orange tint. These warm colors help Bluff Park retain its tranquil mood from early morning.