Tag Archives: rattlesnake grass

Seals and pelicans wait for the sun.

At least, that’s what it seemed to me they were doing. At Jenner-by-the-Sea so many Pacific Harbor Seals give birth and rear their young on the sand spits that they call it a rookery or a nursery. It’s where the Russian River opens into the Pacific along the North Coast of California, and the beach there is called Goat Rock. This photo shows them on both sides of the river, the town hidden by fog above the farthest shore.

My friend and I had made the drive to the beach pretty early in the morning, having been told by the weather people that it would be mostly sunny. It was not — but 60° and not windy is pretty good for this coastline, where beaches are not consistently sunny until August or September.

You’re not supposed to get closer than 50 feet to the seals; I think we were a little closer than that, but we stood quietly staring and none of the animals seemed to mind us or change what they were doing. The seals didn’t move much, but their various colors were interesting, and they would go in and come out of the water occasionally, or look up at us.

The pelicans were more thrilling, and even more numerous, flying back and forth or just hanging with the sea gulls and seals. But they were also harder to photograph! In the middle of the middle picture below, it’s pelicans who are forming a flotilla in the river. We didn’t see any diving to fish.

After stopping by another beach where we enjoyed some of that “mostly sun,” we took a slightly different route back inland along a narrow road where bright patches of wildflowers caught my attention, springing up through the dry grass.

clarkia
rattlesnake grass

I especially noticed the leaves on the one just above, because they resembled those of the little native beach plant in my garden, Eriogonum latifolium or seaside buckwheat, that I bought at a local nursery three years ago. It has never bloomed, or even grown very much.

When I got home, I went out back to take a picture to compare, and what do you know? It is blooming right now!! And I do believe…

The death of death, and wildflowers.

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”

This is one of the Paschal hymns our little groups sang over and over today, as we walked among the graves at several cemeteries, rejoicing with those who wait in hope.

It is called the Day of Rejoicing, or Radonitsa,
and is always the second Tuesday after Pascha.

 

Today the wind was blowing, so we could not keep our candles lit. The sun peeked out from behind clouds from time to time.

More wildflowers than I’ve ever seen were blooming in the non-endowed cemeteries. This must be because of the very wet winter and spring we have had.

 

 

 

 

 

The rattlesnake grass was blowing in the breeze and making a graceful and wavy dance.

I knew that Scarlet Pimpernel was a flower, but I didn’t know it was this flower
growing among the lupines. My godmother told me.

My husband is buried at one of the cemeteries we visited, and my goddaughter at another.
We sang and burned incense and sprinkled holy water over the graves of dozens of others
who are resting in the earth, awaiting the Resurrection of the Dead.

This year I remembered to bring the shells from our red Pascha eggs
to sprinkle on the graves, and flowers from my snowball bush, too.
We were all so happy to be there!

“We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hell, the beginning of eternal life.
And leaping for joy, we celebrate the Cause,
the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.”

Sunless and Satisfying Day

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.


Some of us took a walk along the bluffs, where I found so many interesting things to see and click my camera at, including stickers and a minty purple flower that filled the low moist places.

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.