The beach cottage is next to a creek that forms a lagoon at this time of the year, cut off from the frigid Northern California ocean water by sand dunes and therefore swimmably warm, if you don’t mind the algae.
The whole place is full of memories for me, going back more than 20 years to the first time I was here with our children, who with their homeschooling friends built rafts of driftwood and punted around, while their baby sister crawled through the sand.
|Those are abalone shells lined up on the fence.|
We’ve come many, many times to this sleepy village, and this week it was to be with our friends who lived full-time in the house for a spell but now only vacation there. Mr. Glad and I are normally just a couple these days, but they were lucky enough to have four of their five daughters with them.
No sooner had we arrived than I discovered the fuchsias and Chinese firecrackers that had enthusiastically taken over the mostly untended yard. They make you think you are in a tropical paradise, until you look up and notice the fog and the golden hills.
In the background of the third fuchsia pic, you can see the wild fennel reaching for the skies. A lot of it has already dried and is getting mildewed.
The fields of rattlesnake grass a block away also contradict the tropical theme. I picked bundles of the stuff before I came to the conclusion that it’s really past its prime and that I should just come back next June to get it when it is still green and the “rattles” are whole.
|Sand Art by Mr. G|
We packed up some cheese, French and Italian breads, and watermelon, and drove up the coast to another beach just for fun.
One can’t easily predict how grey and cool the days will be out there, but we expected the sun to come out by the afternoon, and we pointed out the little patches of blue we could see here and there near the horizon.
At least it wasn’t terribly cold, though I did keep my sweatshirt on all day. The fog did not lift, but the sun burned some young chests right through it. And I was so happy and busy smelling the seaweed and the beach plants that I didn’t even notice the weather change that never happened.
|Rattlesnake grass and cow parsnip|
When we returned to the cottage it was to cook together and cozy up with a big dinner and loving camaraderie — lively talk and laughing followed by sitting on couches and in rockers. Mr. G and I couldn’t help ourselves, taking lots of pictures of the girls so clearly content and comfortable with each other, tucked in with overlapping arms and legs and smiling so much you wouldn’t believe it.
I didn’t mind the grey skies, because the flowers and friendship made the best kind of sunshine.