Well, it wasn’t really setting yet, but nearly, and the year wasn’t over yet, but nearly, and these arbitrary yet nature-based things we call years are as full of wonder as the ocean, and the sand, and the cliffs, and the scrubby brush, and the flowers of the succulents, and the rocks, and the birds, and the whales we saw spouting a few days ago, and the children frolicking, and the people sunbathing and picnicking and reading and playing frisbee and digging in the sand and writing messages and piling rocks and dragging kelp and collecting stones and shells, and playing volleyball and surfing and swimming and paddle-boarding and even fishing way out there — while I walk and hear the rush and the crash and the rattle and the pause, and stop and breathe and take photos and pick things up and stare at the sky and at the foam and at the patterns of the receding waves, and at the effortless-seeming pelicans and the skittering sandpipers and the pecking godwits and the gathering gulls, smelling the salt and the eucalyptus, digging my toes into the cool dampness, and breathing, just breathing, rejoicing.
Monthly Archives: December 2014
December 30, 2014
Well, not really. But the wind and the waves have covered enough of this stone to leave the remaining part looking like a salted cashew. Or some kind of bean whose name I don’t know. It’s also curious how the sand has cracked around the edges.
Cracked around the edges. I feel like that sometimes. A bit delicate and vulnerable around the edges, eh? Need some shoring up, perhaps. At the shore. I missed my walk today, can you tell?
Mysterious bumps and holes. Air holes? Igloos of little sand creatures? Nothing seems to be under them, but there they are. Lots and lots of holes, many fewer bumps. The holes are less than 1/8″, the bumps perhaps 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ high. Perfect little mounds. Soft. Nothing visible inside them.
It’s very had to know who is there.
There were mounds of these at intervals today. In addition to being visually interesting, they provide another, auditory treat: when the water recedes over them, there is a clatter of rattle-y noise as they bang into each other. So you hear the rush of the incoming wave, the pause, and then the staccato rapping of the stones. Pause. Next wave. Repeat…
I took this just after the sun had set — barely. The horizontal layers of rock, sea, and sky follow the Art 101 rules of composition. Nature is good at that!
December 27, 2014
You can almost get vertigo looking at the wave action and patterns sometimes, but that’s not the most interesting effect of this photo to me. It’s the golden molten look of the water in the setting sun’s brilliance that is so rich and magnificent. It’s almost as if the sun is sinking into the water itself and melting it into reflective bronze. Add that to the matte perfect smoothness of the sand and the bubbled leading edge of the water…it doesn’t cease to amaze. Visual deliciousness.
December 26, 2014
The strands look draped down the sides of the cliff, and almost as desiccated as the earth itself. The rains of the past month have made only a bit of a difference to our desert-meets-the-sea climate. You can see bits of brighter, yellow-green growth which resulted from that extra moisture. The silvery stuff provides a quiet contrast.
‘A quiet contrast’ is a nice notion for a piece of art. I will think about that.
December 25, 2014
Look at how they are nestled up against each other. And the three colors. And the red and white one looks like an animal head. Actually, they all do, sort of. And they are set into that wonderful swirl-patterned sand.
Small mystical miracles on a day of large miracle for some. We could all use some miracles right about now, don’t you think?
December 24, 2014
Low tide changes the landscape. These rocks aren’t usually visible, and they seem like they’ve been dropped there — from outer space? But they are part and parcel of the beach even so, both visually and structurally. What other structures are hidden but essential? Hidden but essential, indeed?!
December 23, 2014
Not sure it looks particularly British, but scrolling through my photos from the trip, it struck me as particularly vivid. Once again, rain does that. I have to remember that although we have indeed had some rain here, I still have to water my potted succulents that are under cover and not out in the elements. My usual error is to over-water them, but now, because watering is no longer on my mind, I tend to forget them!
The care and feeding of…I do like to feed my family. And friends. I cooked a dinner for 7 while visiting my sister, and I’ve been cooking here at home. Last night at 10:00 I decided to bake brownies (from “scratch” — everyone has scratch in their pantries, right?) Made son’s favorite chicken dinner tonight. Tomorrow it’s soup for Christmas Eve. For Christmas day, it’s salmon. Sometime there will be latkes, as Chanukah pushes right up against Christmas this year. Daughter may bake pecan pie! I love these special foods for special times for special people! Care and feeding of: greenery and humanity.
December 22, 2014
It’s an anemone. It looks like a rock, and it is covered with shell fragments, and probably looking like a rock is protection of a sort.
Are we all covered with shells? Do they really work to protect us? Are we more or less what we appear? Anemones are soft and squishy-seeming. When touched, they close up to shield their insides.
The shapes and textures in this are as compelling, too, in their color and placement. I think those are mussel shells to the left and lower right. And what is the circular area that looks dark and wet?
The words surprise me, attaching themselves to these images that I choose with my eyes closed. Eyes shut tight.
December 15, 2014
Even in December, coastal California does not disappoint. We saw these on a nature walk around one of the many lagoons in the area. Our “canyoneer” pointed out many plants, ducks, birds, and even the stray gecko. It’s been chilly and rainy, so different flora are showing their colors. I thought the delicate touches of pink and red were delightful!
December 14, 2014
The recents storms have changed the beach landscape rather dramatically. These rocks used to be under inches, if not feet, of sand. They have dramatic shadows in the late afternoon, and I glory in their cragginess and mysterious shapes. The darks and lights are extreme even within the limits of a phone camera’s lens, and the bits of color provided by the kelp remnants add particular detail.
The wind, the sand, the rocks, the sea: Nature’s art astonishes me!
December 13, 2014
After the rain, that is. Well, it looks different every day, every minute, but the colors seems crisper, the wave action more active, and the beach itself very much marked by flowing water from the cliffs. Yet, as always, it is the water itself that ends up captivating me. The relentless emotionless water that nevertheless has an aspect of cheerfulness today, its energetic frothy foam declaring its freedom.
And there will be more rain and more change and it is good.
December 12, 2014
On my beach. Yep, my beach. Just about no one else there, before the storm. I don’t usually take pictures of people. But this was unusual, and I feel like it’s not a photo of people, but rather of an activity. Things happen on the beach. Because — it’s a beach.
The model was wearing white, but it wasn’t a bridal gown. I wonder if I’d recognize her in an ad. They were doing still photos, not a movie/video. Later, we saw the table in the upper left set up as if for a meal.
We walked the other way rather than intrude on the set. On my beach. Where there was a photo shoot. Can’t say that in Kansas, eh?
It’s pouring outside right now, a midwest-like pouring. There’s no photo shoot on my beach tonight!
December 11, 2014
The beach is changing. It changes by the moment, but the last few months have brought radical changes. Many rocks that were previously buried under the sand are now exposed. Shrubbery seems to have moved — but it’s actually the apparent shoreline/cliff-line that has moved because so much of the beach has washed away.
This photo has little to indicate the scale of the particles and clumps. It’s actually a close-up of a ledge of sand that now seems like an extension of the huge cliffs above. The colors and the texture are less pinky-orange than the cliffs; perhaps more of the darker, magnetic sand is located (or exposed) here. I find this color combination quite appealing, magnified by the ambiguity of the scale. Let’s hear it for ambiguity!
December 10, 2014
A new-to-me seaweed.
And there it is, delicate and complex and elegant, despite a month of loss and sad news and disappointment in the political world.
Golden seaweed. A treasure from today’s walk on the beach. We should all be able to walk on the beach and find golden seaweed. If only.
December 9, 2014
I love looking up when I’m in new places. Or old places where I’ve forgotten to look up. I’ve been here before — several times — and don’t remember seeing this confluence of branches and fronds. Nice patterns of negative space, too.
Negative space? It isn’t really negative, is it? Its just as valid a space as any other, don’t you think? I’d be more likely to call it “the space(s) in between.”
“In between” even sounds good. A bit quirky. Yes?
December 8, 2014
Things aren’t always what they seem. The sun made this mysterious drawing that *looks* like the gull’s reverse shadow. I don’t know.
So much we don’t know, and the not-knowing can become a marvelous thing in itself. If only we valued the not-knowing and were less certain and more interested in learning — about nature, about physics (which is just another term for perhaps the mechanics of nature), about each other, about motives, about goodness and evil, about right and wrong, about…well, almost everything.
Just embrace the not-knowing, and the miracles and mysteries that are out there. There’s plenty for us all. And we could all be housed and fed and educated and cared for. We can solve border disputes, we can solve energy needs, we can solve all of it. The light shadows hold the truth.
I don’t really feel this optimistic — but I’d like to.
(And I don’t know what that bit of green is by its tail, and that’s wonderful, too!)
December 7, 2014
Not as spectacular as the anemone photos I’ve seen online, but, hey, this is *our* anemone. They jetty is a lovely place to find starfish, mussels, barnacles, and other shells and marine curiosities. At least, to me they are curiosities, even if they are quite common!
There’s also something about this composition that I like, with the roundish stones and the roundish anemone and the spiraling lines inside him (her?) and the bean-shaped center, and the diagonals of the sand edges, and the muted but varied and mottled surfaces. I’m not admiring my own handiwork — these shots are done quickly, and with some awkwardness of positioning, mind you — but rather Nature’s handiwork. She does nice art, eh?
December 6, 2014
I’m not sure what it is, but that doesn’t matter. It was about twenty feet long. And it’s cool, with the loops and varying sizes of stones.
I’ve seen stacks of stones, and drawing into the sand with a stick (presumably) — but never a stone drawing. Nice, don’t you think? And if you think you know what it is, do tell me!
December 5, 2014
We had friends visiting for two days. It rained — for two days. It drizzled, misted, poured — for two days. We have lived here three years and four months, and we haven’t had two days in a row of rain like this. The first 17 months, it rained 5 times, for about 10 minutes each time. We need the rain. It wasn’t a cold rain, but I felt chilled and then too warm, perhaps because of the unusual humidity. I even heard thunder at one point. Echoes of the Midwest, literally!
Wonder what the spider thought of the flood to its home?
December 4, 2014
And precious rain.
My friends brought it with them. Perhaps. We needed it. Where does the sky descend, the sea start, the sand finish?
And what colors do you see? Do you have names for those colors? I find that colors I can’t name are very special. “Pale bluish greenish gray” doesn’t really describe it, does it? There’s a softness, a blur, a smudginess that is so elemental to this scene. No boundaries. No edges. Japanese watercolor and ink? The most delicate of pastels? A wash of diluted oil paint? None would come close to how it looks, and the photo doesn’t do it justice either. But for now it’s the best way to share it with you.