INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Shalom Pena, 33, did not have much time to talk. The sunset was just a few moments away, but he was willing to speak to the stranger for one second.
"I am giving the world love,’’ he explained as he smiled and twirled to the right and back again.
The stranger asked Pena where he was from and why he was dancing around three sand sculptures shaped like teepees nearby.
"I am from Largo,’’ he said. "They are for balance. You can call them sacred symbols of geometry. This is for our energy, love circle.’’
The stranger backed up to give Pena room. She had already heard him hooting and hollering, and she expected he needed space. Pena pranced left. He pranced right.
"I come here a few times a week,’’ he said. "People can feel the love.’’
Slowly, with his hands together he stretched upwards. "Love is here,’’ he yelled to the sky.
Two gray-haired women in sneakers walked passed him on their early evening stroll. "We are here,’’ he said, smiling.
They smiled back and continued on their way.
A few yards away, Lee Davis, 63, rested on a bench with his bike beside him.
"I hear he has been coming out almost every night, and my neighbor just called me while she was on her walk. She’s been wanting me to see him,’’ he said. "He is different. That’s for sure.’’
Michelle Leone of Toronto was sending photos of Pena from her phone to her grandchildren in Canada.
"They thought everyone in Florida was like me old and serious,’’ she joked. "I wondered if he was crazy, but, then, I really don’t think he is.’’
Closer to Pena, several people stood together, including Colleen Shahid. She first met Pena in one of the beach parking lots several weeks ago.
"He told me he was a sun gazer,’’ she said. "I like to come down and join him. He makes me smile, actually, he makes me laugh.’’
Pena swirled left. He danced around his sculptures.
"We are alive,’’ he yelled. "You are beautiful.’’
As the daylight continued to disappear, Davis climbed back on his bicycle and peddled away.
Leone wrapped a beach towel around her shoulders and headed across Gulf Boulevard.
On the beach, a man grunted a little and as he pulled himself up from a chair, he talked to his companion. "Well, let’s go eat. Maybe we’ll see him again tomorrow,’’ he said.
The companion shook her head and smiled as she folded their chairs. She looked over her shoulder at the night sky and at Pena, now a shadowy figure. He bent from his waist and touched the water. He turned and gave one last wave to his sculptures.
The day was over. The shooting oranges and reds and yellows from the sun had vanished from the horizon.
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.