Tag Archives: beach

Walking in foggy time.

I did it – I went back to the beach all on my own, only about three weeks after that last trip. Because I didn’t arrive until the afternoon, and I could only afford to spend a couple of hours at the most, I thought that time pressure would make the minutes fly.

Sea Rocket

But somehow, the opposite happened. Time swelled to be as big as the ocean; it was as vague and undefined as the fog. I walked and walked, lost in it, and when I checked my phone, I couldn’t believe how little of my allotment I had used. So I walked some more….

Believe it or not, I have the plant above, with the whitish leaves, in my garden. I bought it a the native plant nursery years ago, and knew it was a beach plant, but I’d never seen it before in its natural habitat. I recognized it immediately. I won’t worry about my plant anymore. It looks more spindly than these but otherwise … yeah. And I don’t know its name.

The sun never came out, but the air was pleasant. I wore a thin linen shirt, and carried my Teva sandals so that my feet could get the full sand experience. A girl spun cartwheels in the fringes of the incoming waves. Fathers with their children dug holes to catch the water. Bodies huddled like seals in driftwood teepees.

Coyote Brush
Bull Thistle

On my favorite shortcut road home I stopped many times to take pictures, and wished I could take scents. The masses of eucalyptus trunks and leaves exuded their distinctive aroma, which mixed with that of the cypress trees and the drying grass. Probably the coyote brush contributed to the heady perfume that was part of the afternoon’s fog on that particular hill.

Orange Bush Monkeyflower
Coyote Brush surrounded by Poison Oak surrounded by Coyote Brush

My app said that the little tree below was in the rose family. It had fruit looking like cherries, but didn’t resemble a cherry plum tree. I guessed it was a volunteer/escapee from an old farm nearby.

From the top of the hill I could look back and see just a bit of the bay and the hill above, through the fog and mist — and the barbed wire.

A wind came up and whished the slender eucalyptus leaves into a loud whisper, and they were still telling their secrets when I had to drive away. So I must go back soon for the rest of the story, right?

Our souls were satisfied on the pebbly beach.

Daughter Kate and her family are still here, and Pippin’s family also came to visit for a couple of days. We women took the kids to the beach, one that is becoming a favorite; it’s a little farther to drive to, but there is no undertow or other dangerous feature, and the sand is tiny pebbles. It doesn’t blow in your face and is much much easier to deal with at picnics — or in diapers.

Rigo liked this kind of sand very much for exploring orally; Kate spent a lot of time with her boys helping them to focus on the visual aspect of the smooth stones.

Scout joked he was on a mission to clean out the ocean; he and his siblings dragged up many sea vegetables and other live things. Pippin found starfish on a rock and brought them up for everyone to see for a few minutes before she put them back in a wetter place. The long-leaved kelp Rigo is touching had washed in still attached to its stone anchor.

Gooseneck Barnacle

Kate and Pippin took a lot of pictures that they shared with me, which is why I am featured in some scenes here. Raj understandably did not want to brave that wild surf on his own, but he did like throwing pebbles or grass into the waves from on high, secure in the arms of his aunt or grandma. We each took many turns with this routine, running down close enough to let the next wave wash over our feet, and to see Raj’s beaming face.

Ivy collected shells and used them to decorate the little mountain in which she buried my feet. Then we did the same to her. She looked much more elegant than I had as she received the warm sand treatment.

Pippin brought me special presents, as it were, a couple of tiny pieces of beach glass, and a strange little item she said appeared to be a bit of plant matter with grains of the pebbly sand embedded in it. That night I found that she had also taken a picture of me taking a picture of it. What a daughter!

Scout engaged his mother in a study of wave patterns. He had to hike back up the cliff to get a notebook from the car, in which they then recorded a series of waves, judging their relative size, to see if big ones came at regular intervals. It doesn’t seem to have been a long-term project.

Meanwhile, Jamie waited an hour or two before he was willing to get his feet wet. Then he had a lot of fun! This baby who was gentlemanly from the start, waiting to make his appearance until after we had said goodbye to his Grandpa Glad, is now five years old, and a real boy.

 

There were new plants for me to discover at the coast, as well as old favorites. Here are a few wildflowers I saw:

Silver Beach Weed
Indian sweet-clover
Pacific Gumplant

Kate and I were both grateful to Pippin for making our beach outing happen. Once more I had gone because someone else prompted me. August and September typically are the best months for pleasant weather on the North Coast, and I’m going to try very hard to go all on my own! It is always the most soul-satisfying place to spend some time.

The face of the earth ever renewed.

common yarrow

This sunny morning my neighbor Kim and I drove separately to the coast and met for a walk. On my winding way through the hills, I noticed Queen Anne’s Lace swaying in the breeze along the roadway. Trees, grasses and shrubs were painted in the gentlest pastel colors of lavender, green, and yellow-orange. The Psalter played through my speakers, and one of the Psalms I heard was 104, which is part of every Orthodox Saturday Vespers. It begins:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

beach suncup

Once we set out at our brisk pace, I was distracted somewhat from my surroundings, except through my bare feet, which kept me tuned to the cool and firm sand under them, or the waves that splashed over. Though lots of people walked close to the surf, the beach in general wasn’t crowded. I had the feeling it must be the healthiest place around, with the quantities of sea air flowing freshly in and around us all.

I lost track of time. Eventually we parted in the parking lot, and then I wandered by myself in the dunes for a while looking at flowering plants known and unknown to me. I’ve managed to identify most of them — I think.

Ribwort Plantain
Silver Beachweed
non-native sand spurry
what we call ice plant – native of South Africa
Buck’s-horn Plantain

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.

These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

Yellow Bush Lupine

If I hadn’t had another obligation in the afternoon, I think I would have meandered up and down the coast till dusk. I’ve never been more thankful that I live close enough to be in the domain of the sand and the sea and the flowers, on a warm and sweet June day.

 

We came to the setting of the sun…

The Second Day of Nativity was splendid.

After Liturgy friend Margaret and I went to breakfast and then out to the coast to walk on the beach. The sun was shining but it was wintry with wind beating against us from every direction and tearing the sea foam into chunks of confetti which then ran away across the sand.

We walked and talked and talked and walked, and kind of got lost. We had pushed a long way to the south without realizing it, and then when we came back, we couldn’t recognize the path by which we had come down through the dunes at the start. So, up we walked on a different path, me thinking we might have gone too far and were at the northern access to the beach. Nope. After looking at a map that a couple of newbies were kind enough to show us (we who named this our favorite beach!) we realized that we had crossed an invisible boundary to the next beach south, and were still not back to the beach we’d started out on. We had a long way to go yet back to the car.

So we kept on, till we got to the proper exit, and then turned around to face the sea once more as the sun was going down, for a good-bye. We said a couple of prayers together, ending with “the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible that is still in use today,” Phos Hilaron, which we know as “O Gladsome Light.”

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory
of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father:
O Jesus Christ.

Now that we have come to the setting of the sun,
and behold the light of evening, we praise God:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

For meet it is at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise,
O Son of God and Giver of life;
therefore all the world doth glorify Thee.