Isn’t it stunning? A gray sky and sea, with a barely detectable horizon. I love visual ambiguity. And many kinds of verbal ambiguity. Ambiguity is provocative; fuzzy borders and juxtapositions can be riveting. Although I detest ambiguity in directions for navigation or construction, the ambiguities of art and poetry are intriguing.
Are they ripening? Or dying? Those sharply yellow blooms are drying and browning. I thought they might contain powdery pollen, but no. Within the same shrub, there are young golden ones and these duller, tan, browner ones. But perhaps they are ripening in the fullness of age, as we all hope *we* are.
Because they are the prettiest shade of red/magenta/lipstick possible. Because their petals fold so beautifully. Because their stalks are also red. Because they were paired with white ones and made a pretty display in the shopping center flower bed. Nope, not near the beach — but not too far either. Notable, anyway.
I love these tender yet bright colors of new foliage. It’s spring here by so many counts, and not just the flowers. The air seems lighter, the sun brighter, the afternoons warmer, and then there are these sweet-tipped branches, showing off their more intense colors than those of the parent leaves. And there have to be at least ten shades of green here, from chartreuse through the middling grassy-greens to a deep, dusty green-black. The orange peeking through sets them all off nicely, wouldn’t you say?
Well, it’s not quite black-eyed. Is it brown-eyed? These are different from the so-called highway daisies that are so abundant around here. This one was huddled with her family by the fence on the beach path. The campground is closed for plumbing renovations, so she and her family may be gone by the time I get there next.
Along the cliff-sides. It felt like a perfect mid-summer day today on the beach, probably about 70, light breeze, gentle sun at 4 pm. The cliffs are looking dry and dusty and there is no rain in the forecast. In defiance, this shrub and its siblings were doing their purple blooming just to counteract the drab. I think they did a nice job. Hurray for purple blooming!
Walking home this morning, about 11 am, this was the other-worldly view along Highway 101/Carlsbad Boulevard adjoining our neighborhood. An hour *earlier* it was clear. Funny, because a common weather ‘forecast’ here is, “…early morning fog burning off this afternoon….” It must be boring to be a meteorologist around here.
And isn’t there something just a little bit silly about those very tall, skinny palm trees?
As well as something wonderful about the huge blurry sun!
It’s there, behind the tangle. Sometimes hard to see and realize. These knobby gnarly bumpy branches are so evocative — of winter (such as it is), of age, of rest, of spring to come. Spring — to come.
I wonder if there’s a season for peeling bark. A whole group of trees had large sheets of bark waving in the breeze, like flags just beckoning me to look at the layers. So: look at the layers! White and gray and tan and peach and everything in between. Thin wispy layers and thick denser ones too.
I have a piece of bark sandwiched into my most recent art quilt. Nature’s exquisite paper.
The same one from two days ago, but a different view. There must be a hundred linear feet of these shrubs along the old, abandoned highway 101/Carlsbad Boulevard. It is a gorgeous mass of yellow, and each individual bud(?) is complex.
We can walk on the beach. We can walk in the campgrounds above the beach. We can walk on the abandoned road next to the campgrounds. And we can walk on the sidewalk of the current 101/Carlsbad Boulevard, next to the abandoned one. So many views, so much flora, water, cliff, and sky.
And I saw the International Space Station floating by tonight. It is not flora or fauna or water or cliff. It was for sure in the sky, with its six passengers, along with a nice big moon.
Moon, ISS, yellow blossoms. Good.
Some days you just have to go back to the basics. Basic sky, basic water, basic beach. And just as good as it’s always been. But different. The light was graying out the water and bluing up the sky. Half an hour before sunset. A time of changes. “The circle time parade…” Thank you, Phil Ochs, RIP. Kathy too.
What is it about yellow flowers? Is it that I think lemons are beautiful? Is it that they would go well in my ideal purple and white garden? (I am *so* not a gardener!) Is it that they are inherently cheerful? Is it that yellow is a difficult paint color but easy-peasy in nature? Is it that it makes green look greener, fresher?
Along the beach road there were masses of shrubs blooming profusely with these cylindrical, ear-of-corn shaped buds. I don’t recall them from last year. But who knows why one notices things one day, or one season, and not the next. If we noticed everything all the time, nothing would be special?
Rather the opposite of yesterday’s dainty yellow, these purple asters? daisies? cover the foliage with bountiful exuberance. There’s a large stretch next to the sidewalk on our way to the beach. The abundance of mid-February’s decoration. As opposed to the snow, ice, wind, and cold in much of the country — and one of the big reasons we moved here.
The campground is closed for plumbing renovations, so it is empty. Empty of RVs, children, dogs, skateboards, beanbag tossing games, surfboards, jogging moms, strolling couples, the scent of bacon on a grill in the morning and of chicken barbecuing in the evening. But as we walk through, it is easier to notice the little things without the distraction of so much activity. And little these were, and sweet in their brightness, peeking out from the edge of a large rock. They might technically be weeds, for all I know, but they are a very sprightly lemon yellow bit of cheerfulness.
These were seen on the same walk as the twins from yesterday. Here it’s the barn-red slats that make the trumpets stand out so strikingly. I wonder if the smaller yellower one is a wilting old blossom or a new blossom? I will try to notice the next time I walk by there.
We hadn’t been to the lagoon for a long time. And here are these beauties, gifts of early spring. We don’t need science fiction — these are strange enough, and just growing nicely in the neighborhood. A good day for a longer walk.
I’d not seen the stones aligned like this, with the lovely tree-like sand patterns revealed, each anchored by the stone that directed the wave action around it. You can also see the edge of the tide-line. History of water and sand writ fine.
Maybe she was challenged to climb the big mountain. Maybe she had to see what’s on the other side. Maybe it was just there. Maybe she knew it would get her on the Internet. Maybe she went rock climbing every day. Maybe she’s not a ‘she?’ Are ladybugs female?
My mother loved ladybugs. They are certainly appealing. This one doesn’t seem to have spots. Is she still a ladybug? Off to Google I go!
Nope, they don’t have to have spots. They are beetles and they eat aphids and there are apparently males and females. So.
Back to the beach and another puzzle. Some sort of surfing shoe make this print? Doesn’t look like any shoe-print nor barefoot-print I’ve ever seen. And how many times have I walked on this beach? At least 300, I suspect. Something new every day.
One more retreat photo. The rain was so lovely. It left everything brimming with intense color. And that one small flower shyly peeking out. Who could resist?
On a cloudy morning. Breakfast was served at 8 at the retreat and I tried to walk for a bit each morning.before breakfast. The lighting on this was strange for that time of day, and struck me with its quiet drama, juxtaposing the dewdrops with the blackness of the form. The moody skies behind add to the sense of mystery.
There were turkeys. Lots of them. They crossed the road. We didn’t ask them why. They seemed to do it every morning. Because, I guess. Just because.
This was all over the trees at the retreat center, festooning itself across branches in a celebratory way. Its pale delicacy was a nice contrast to the deeply yellow-green of the moss-covered stones and walkways. It was a retreat TO nature as well as a retreat FROM the everyday.
Complex. Rich. Textured. Alive. Burned. Scarred. Green, peeking through.
My son is 23 today and I could tell you moment by moment about the day of his birth. Every birthday is sacred, consecrated, made holy by possibility, by hope, by joy, by love.
The walls at the retreat center were embellished with moss, luxurious because of recent rains. Everything was mossy: the sidewalks, the walls, random stones, fallen branches. The hills were velvety with fresh green, rich against the very blue skies that seem so common after rain.
I walked one afternoon after a morning shower, and the world truly did seem bathed anew. We were isolated from the troubles of the world in this lovely place; I had to walk a distance from our buildings to get phone or mail connections, and generally did so only once a day. No TV or radio; it was a freedom to be disconnected from “outside” and focus “inside.” Retreat center it was.
This is from very near where yesterday’s photo was taken. It has the added feature of deer, which we found grazing in a herd of about eight or ten. They were out in the morning, enjoying the crisp cool air, just as we were. They wouldn’t allow us to get too close. I think I’ll add a crop of this so you can see the one out there to the right.
It was a good morning indeed.
I was in northern California for the last two weeks. One glorious week, I was fortunate to be in San Juan Bautista at a quilting retreat with my sister and five other women. The place is stunningly beautiful; above is the vista from a path I walked each morning before breakfast.
The center occupies 73 acres of rolling hills, which, due to the winter rains, were gorgeously green and velvety. So different from the terrain in southern California — 400 miles is significant.
It was peaceful and intense at the same time. I learned a lot — made my first quilt top and also a number of other projects, under my sister’s expert instruction. It was also exciting to see the skills and talents of the other women there. Our meals were supplied and we had no chores, which left us 10-11 hours each day to sew. We took some walks during the day and made excursions to town for coffee, goodies, and sewing supplies. A productive change of pace!