Bubble Man at Rodeo Beach

Random Encounter on Thanksgiving Day

Bubble Man at Rodeo Beach
Bubble Man at Rodeo Beach

He was standing, lit by the golden sun setting over the ocean, atop the ledge next to the wooden stairs down to the ocean beach. He held a sheathed, sword-like baton that he withdrew with a practiced arc, opening the dripping baton to catch the gentle ocean breeze, forming a large bubble.

As the giant bubble was born, he blew on it, creating a bubble within the bubble. One after the other the amorphous blobs spun, drifted, and gently, slowly floated down toward the beach.

He was a short, thin man, making the giant bubbles appear even larger. The film that made the thin membrane of the bubble itself was incredulously colorful, and those colors gyroscopically spun around the surface they created which was dotted by the reflection of the setting sun.

Sunset at Rodeo Beach on ThanksgivingThe bubble creator assumed the stature of a mystic, silently and gently blessing the beach with his feather-lite creations: floating . glistening. spinning slowly and effortlessly in the breeze. His ambered stature atop the ledge cast a defined, thin shadow.

I shot this brief video of the momentary transcendence. He spoke to me of his rhythmic, practiced bubble-making as though it were in fact an art form, even referring to his wand contraption as an “instrument, much like a violin.”

He told of the many places where he had shared his blessings around the world. He seemed to prefer making his bubbles around large bodies of water. He has always been attentive to how atmospheric conditions affect the bubble ensembles he tunes: how fog affects them, how the sunset changes the atmospheric pressure and breeze patterns, when the bubbles tend to go up, or float, or gentle drop to the earth. He once created an ever rising, spiraling symphony of bubbles by a large swimming pool.

What the Ocean Washed Up
What the Ocean Washed Up!

The bubble maker has created names for the numerous techniques he uses to achieve different iterations of his amorphous orbs. He detailed them. He described the best backgrounds for viewing the bubbles: the black sands and pebbles of Rodeo Beach1 were particularly excellent. He spoke of the proper emulsion of the bubble-making liquid.

A fascinating, unexpected, timeless encounter in the light of the sun setting over the ocean on Thanksgiving day.


  1. where we happened to be