Thursday, December 24, 2015

365 True Things: 270/Ocean

Artist rendering: POP entrance
I have lived most of my life by the ocean. The house I grew up in in Santa Monica was two miles from the blufftop Palisades Park, overlooking Highway 1 and the beach that led to Santa Monica Pier with its famous merry-go-round (of the movie The Sting fame), Muscle Beach, Venice. Pacific Ocean Park (P.O.P.) was, to my child eyes, a glitzy, glamorous amusement park built right on the water, where I celebrated at least one birthday—seventh or eighth is my guess. My high school was mere blocks from the beach —not that I ever ditched school to go sunbathing, the way some of my more rebellious classmates did.

In fact, I was not a beach bunny. I got bored lying on a towel soaking up the rays—and reading while lying down was not comfortable. (We didn't seem to have folding chairs in those days!) And I didn't really like swimming in saltwater or body surfing.

My favorite time to go to the beach was on foggy winter days; my favorite activity: to walk along the shore in all its misty moodiness. Maybe not as a child, but certainly as a (moody) teenager.

For the past twenty-five years, we've lived a mile from the shore of Monterey Bay. Despite its proximity, I don't go to the shore very often. Whenever I do go, I wonder why I don't go more. I love the water, the waves, the shorebirds, the fresh air, the gliding pelicans and bobbing sea otters, the occasional whale spout.

Maybe it's because if I'm going to get out for a good walk, I want to climb a few hills. And of course, the beach is pretty flat.

This morning some good friends were visiting from Cape Cod, and they wanted to get another dose of the Pacific. So in between rain squalls, we took a drive down to the local beach and walked a short ways. It was windy. The surf was up. Hundreds of sea gulls stood facing into the breeze, hunkered down for warmth. Another shower was barreling toward us over the water. It was a perfect moment. Here's a photo I snapped:

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