Makes the air so soft. You can feel it almost-rain. Like Providence-ing. In Providence, it was either raining, about to rain, or just finished raining. That is, for 3.5 seasons of the year, anyway. And when it felt like you should wring out the air, I called it Providence-ing. Misting. Or almost-misting. And it smells good, and feels like cat-paws, patting your skin.
I like that kind of air, and I like how it creates an atmosphere where edges blend, everything is blurred, outlines are gentled. (Gentled — like gentling horses. Our society needs gentling…but that’s a different blog, one I don’t care to write right now!)
So folks here often complain about the marine layer. They demand their sunshine. I don’t. I like those foggy, grayed, atmospheric Japanese brush-painted landscapes, too. When I get myself to Japan someday, I will particularly request some fog, please. Meanwhile, behold the marine layer.
Woo! Never before have I seen one with a day-glow blue-green tail! Even the tips of its toes are blue. And there was another just like it a few feet away. These must love the scrub near the path to the beach — perhaps people drop bits of food on their way?
I took several photos; they skitter very quickly and suddenly, really darting about, and the sun was in my eyes, so I’m happy I caught this.
A gorgeous day in San Diego. We were out sailing with our friends. Having friends who sail is a special gift. So were these guys, enjoying the sun. Love their very red outdoor furniture, and it’s rather nice with the very blue water. There’s a peek of skyline there just to tease you. But it was really about the water. The sky was great, the city was great, the boats and ships were great, we were great. A picnic on a sometimes lazily, sometimes briskly moving boat with good friends.
Our friends in Altadena put out sunflower seeds. (Give them food and they will come?) Apparently the peacocks roam from yard to yard, checking things out. This guy was putting on a show. He’d wiggle his tufted fanny, stamp his feet, and shake his plumage. Then he’d tip and turn and make sure we all got a good view of his glory.
Our friends have seen new chicks grow up, feathers molted, new ones growing. There were six or eight peacocks and hens strolling about their yard, making various peeps and cries (one cry sounds terribly like a very unhappy two-year-old screeching), and generally feeling very much at home. They let us come within about two feet of them. This glorious bouquet looks enormous, either displayed like this or trailing behind when folded up. I think peacock plumage is one more of those things that you almost don’t believe is real until you see it!
We visited friends, and their friend had this amazing tattoo. I must disclose that I am uncomfortable with tattoos for multiple reasons, most especially because of their use by the Nazis. I also don’t look for pain, nor for decorative changes that are difficult to undo. So, while I use makeup sometimes, and pierced my earlobes (just once) so I could wear earrings without the discomfort of clip-ons, a tattoo is surely not in my future.
That said — this was a complex, colorful, and intricate piece of body art. I couldn’t capture the whole thing, but this was the best photo I could take with my phone. I told him I would put it on my blog, and here it is! The gentleman-owner in question was also our cook for the evening and made us a nice meal. This arm did the chopping and stirring! The woman portrayed here must have watched and approved.
Bird scratching? Some tool making accidental contact? This was on the side of the trunk of one of the palm trees that line our street. Palms will probably be a rare sight in a generation or two; they require lots of water and provide only a little shade. They are, however, iconic, and perhaps majestic in a rather whimsical way.
At eye level the trunks are usually brown, with the remnants of stripped/fallen fronds spiraling around. This acrid green, then, was a surprise, and I find its speckles –freckles? — rather charming. Then there are the mysterious small vertical marks as well as the calligraphic main one. In need of revelation or, as I once spoonerized (?), relevation. Relevate, relevate, dance to the music!
Well, some sort of scape, anyway. There’s foliage for sure, and tomato boulders, and cheese pebbles, and little twigs, and short cucumber pillars. So maybe it’s architecture, too?
I do like making salads. It’s fun to have tomatoes that are golden rather than red. The parsley adds tang as well as texture. The cheese is another contrasting texture. The cucumbers add crunch. Pine nuts add a toasty depth, and I often brown them in a dry skillet before adding them, but I didn’t have any this time. I probably make salad at least three times a week, and always have homemade dressing, which has evolved over the years. Now I make a big batch in the blender. But that’s another [visual?] story.
Secrets of structure, secrets of change, of time, of heat, of season, of renewal, of regrowth, of casting off, of shedding; secrets of texture, of toughness, of delicacy; secrets of thickness, of thinness; secrets of edges, of shapes; secrets of depth, of surface; secrets of positive and negative space; secrets of subtle shading, of overlapping juxtaposed shades; secrets of composition, of rules and rule-breaking; secrets of dark and light and everything in between; secrets I need to remember, to use, to be humble with.
They’re getting better as I practice more. This one has mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, zucchini, spinach, black olives, and three kinds of cheese. Very little sauce, and even though it has ricotta and mozzarella, they are applied with a light hand. The crust is the feature. This is about the 20th pizza I’ve made, and we aren’t tired of them yet!
Almost as iconic as the ocean, the Mexican restaurant is a plentiful and popular Southern California fixture. From the taco shop/shack to the sit-down with the strolling musicians, you can find everything from fish tacos (fish grilled or fried) to mole. With triple enchiladas, each in its own sauce, just another yummy option that we enjoyed with friends this balmy evening.
This potted plant was in the outdoor waiting area by the reflecting pool/fountain. Its ordinary ubiquitousness (I made that word up, I guess) didn’t detract from its charm. Looking at the water in the pool, I just wish it would cool off and stop raining in Louisiana. Would that we could direct that rain here, and alleviate lots of suffering there while giving a drink to our parched desert-meets-the-ocean terrain here. The vagaries of nature can be violent and cold indeed.
Same place, different view. Funny how the raking light flattens the perspective; the foreground is the side of the cliff and yet looks to be almost in the same plane as the gray beach below.
I like the stripe-y effects of this photo as well as the muted softened colors. The sun bleaches most of the depth out of the water and leaves the sand looking blurred and fuzzy.
When I take these photos, the sun is in my eyes and I can barely see to compose the elements. I have no idea what the colors will look like and very little feel for the total composition. So it is a gift when something unexpected works. Photography is such a distinctive and variable form of art-making, and continues to hold curious surprises!
It went. It returned. Without me, yet still with me. Steely seas indeed. And really only about 6:15 pm, although it appears darker, on the water, at least.
Yet there’s blue up there, and the sun glares as if to say, “I’m not done yet!” Well, neither am I. I keep thinking the blog is done and yet one more picture wants me, one more comment seeps out of some depths (or shallows?) that I’m not fully aware of: one more, one more. I guess I’m compelled. By the waves of…would that photo have looked the same 100 years ago, 1000, 10,000, would that the technology had been there to create it? What is time, what is timelessness?
And fuzzy. Because I admit I cropped it. But fuzzy enhances its fringe-y edges. And the center repeats, almost fractal-like, the outer parts. White, pink, white, pink. How do its genetics know just how many petal-y things to make? And how to modulate the color from that intense magenta to the gentler paler pink in the center?
On a walk, in a front yard, in the evening, where sometimes the colors seem even more vivid than they do in the sunshine. And look at the coral, the white, and the saffron in the smaller blossoms, plus that saffron repeating in the center of this bold bloom. The zig-zaggety edges of the petals are pretty and delicate, too. Ooh-la-la!
The ground squirrels were really active this morning, scampering along the cliff sides, just after a sprinkle. We sure need more than a sprinkle down here, but these critters must have been finding some good stuff that either sprouted or was uncovered, as they were very active. I couldn’t decide which ones to photograph, but the small head just poking above the rock edge seemed very ‘good morning!’ to me.
It was grey and cool and breezy and we opened our windows and never needed to turn on the air conditioning today. This summer has been much warmer than our previous four-and-a-half, and I am very much looking forward to what passes for autumn — although September can be quite warm. Fall is my favorite season, even here!
This is what they look like when they are usable, as opposed to piled in the exquisitely textured heap I photographed previously. I think the grate is a handy touch; note the chains that attach it to the bucket. Sigh?
Some of the campsites are just sand and others are pavement. Many people put out indoor-outdoor carpeting mats. Makes it nicer to go barefoot — both cooler and cleaner. We also notice that there are brooms propped near many RV doors, and an array of shoes sometimes, too. The camp hosts we spoke with today say their own RV floors are mostly tile — that makes sense given that the beach is both sandy and damp. They were out washing and polishing their RV’s exterior this morning, and I realized that RVs don’t fit into regular car washes. An RV is a large thing to wash!
It’s a whole nother culture there, and fun to observe.
Tree-fence at the campground. Most of the campsites have some shrubbery, of various sizes, shapes, and states of trimming. This empty site had this perfectly trimmed tree, right up against the cliff, that just begged for a photo.
There are shrubs against a chain-link fence that runs along the length of the campground, and shrubs that provide a boundary of sorts between the campsites. We wonder at how people choose their sites, for there are wide, shallow ones and there are long, deep ones. Some are near the restrooms, or the water fountain, or the camp store; and then there is the choice between overlooking the cliff and the ocean view, versus being across the barely two-lane road, which is cheaper. And then the question of “hook-ups” to water, electricity, etc.
It must be a complicated business to choose and reserve your site. We see tent-campers, small pull-alongs, huge fancy homes on wheels with pop-outs and awnings and everything *including* the kitchen sink etc. and a shower and a bedroom and a closet…and we have never partaken of this vacation style. But it’s fun to walk through it and see people doing dishes in a plastic tub and smell the bacon frying and see the big-screen tvs set up against the side of the RV! There are people playing cards, reading, looking at their computer tablets, playing horseshoe variations, and the inevitable bikes and skateboards. Pretty much year-round. Cool.
They are best buddies, nestled together in their colorful pots on our front door stoop just as you come up the walk. I am cheered every time I see them.
They need water nearly every day — it’s been hot and humid here, too. Of course, hot is low 80s in San Diego, for now anyway. Hope it stays that way. I’d be delighted with a climate in which hot was mid- 70s, but that seems to be due to my own internal heat generator.
One of my new front porch plants. I thought I needed a bit of color, so I bought two Mexican-painted pots and put two Nature-painted plants into them. Both coleus. This is one of them. Could the colors possibly be more saturated? (No.) Could the combination possibly be more dramatic? (No.) Could you invent such a plant? (No. Though for all I know it has been bred/modified to have this startlingly bright appearance!)
Could they make me happier any time I go in or out my front door? (No.) Could I resist showing them to you? (Nope!) Perhaps I’ll show off the other one tomorrow.
In the morning, at night, at high noon…and here. Here, where it seems that I’m almost floating on that dark expanse, misleadingly tranquil, with the clouds cupping the sun into their extended smoky hands, the sky defiantly blue above, and yet not lending its color to the steely mysterious wave-free water below,
Still, it is kindly allowing the reflection of the sinking/floating half-circle to extend its not-much-left warmth over its surface. Blue-gray, charcoal-gray, white, yellow, pussy-willow gray, and a host of unnameable colors too.