The Beach

For the last couple of days we have been at the beach in Cambria, California. We got a little motel room and in the morning while all the sleepy heads slumbered, I dressed and raced over the road to find the beach.

My heart was literally hammering in my chest. I just stopped when I saw the sea, I did not even sit, I just stood there and breathed slowly in and out. Letting every sense center in my brain slowly open right up to fill like a sponge and collect all the information. And store it. Because these precious oceans of ours are just so incredible.

And I grew up just steps from high tide on Westshore Beach in New Zealand. So being without the sea for so long has left me parched. I soaked it up.

After a while I returned to our room, woke up the sleepy-heads, did the food wrangling thing (why are modern kids so hard to feed) shoved them all into clothes and coats and out the bloody door. I am so sick of closing doors! We spent a blessedly overcast cool day on the beaches of the West-coast.

The cloud hugged the coastline like a great mist. There was no wind.

It was in the 60’sF with cool breathable air – literally 30 degrees cooler than Visalia in the Central Valley. Perfect beach weather. Yes! For people who grow up on the beach a cool overcast day is perfect beach walking weather!

This is a shot of a rock pool. I did fix it a little to bring up the detail but it looks so abstract. Abstract as life. Lots going on in this little pool.

I have no words for it really. But the sea filled us and wore us out, our deep unrecognized longing placated for a while. It was like home.

Now, we are back in the fire scented city of Visalia now. I have my morning coffee.

Then we are off to find a farmers market.

And tomorrow I fly back to Illinois.

My family is calling. More soon.

Miss C

53 Comments on “The Beach

  1. They look joyous!
    I just arrived in Barcelona a couple of days ago and have been out this morning to say hello to all my old friends in bars and shops in and around the Boqueria.
    It has been a long year – I had my ticket booked in April and it was cancelled 3 times.The lady in the bodega gave me 2 litres of vermut for five Euros and then took off a 25% discount! I am at home!

  2. The West coast beaches with the moderating fog are so unique. I know Visalia well- the Central Valley folks can cool off by driving 50 miles up 198 to 5000ft. elevation ; but you only get that moist air into your lungs by going to the coast😀.
    You may know the famous quote of Mark Twain; “the coldest winter I ever spent was Summer in San Francisco”!

  3. Loved your words, that’s how I feel about the ocean, too. Fun to read about your trip to Cambria and the beach, just an hour north of my home. Safe travels.

  4. This reminds me of a book I loved as a young girl that was made into a movie–Sarah, Plain and Tall and sequel, Skylark. It was a romance that featured a woman that grew up on the coast in Maine and heads west to become the wife of a man (sight unseen!) who needed someone to look after his children after his wife died. It was set during a drought in Kansas where he lived. Sarah struggles with many things, but the loss of the sea breaks her heart in land that is so parched.
    I am continually a lurker and have been here since you were selling T-shirts in your store to fund feeding Sheila when she had to become a pet. Letters for My Little Sister is on my bookshelf.
    I wish you could pack up your animals and move back to NZ. This virus has done nothing but cause us to miss our loved ones and the places we call home.

      • Afterward, you should watch the movies. They star Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. Walken doesn’t play is normal quirky character. He’s kind, and gentle and quiet. Very much a leading man. The protagonist, Sarah, also does something that reminds me of Miss C.—She calls the aunts that raised her, The Treasures. They’re such quiet and lovely books and so too the movies.

    • Hopefully she’d pack up her John too! I didn’t read the books but saw both the Hallmark movies and loved them.

  5. I haven’t visited my own WA state coast in a long, long time. Ours is mostly flat sand for as far as the eye can see until you get way up north on the coastline. But the gray sky, low clouds and churning water is so familiar. Perhaps it’s time for a fall trip. I miss those morning walks with nothing but the gulls for company. Thank you for this reminder.

  6. My favourite place is beside the sea, and I agree I love those windy grey days when the sea is rough.

  7. Welcome to the central coast. I am in San Luis Obispo just down the highway. The ocean is my happy place. I can’t be far from it. I’m happy
    you were able to fill your lungs with the sea air. Safe travels.

  8. Welcome to the central coast. I am in San Luis Obispo just down the highway. The ocean is my happy place. I can’t be far from it. I’m happy
    you were able to fill your lungs with the sea air. Safe travels.

  9. The ocean always makes me happy. It’s a reminder that there’s an immensity to life that I forget about in the grind. The ocean makes me feel small and yet part of a larger whole at the same time.

      • I am also from a small fishing town. My grandfather was a fisherman. He had a small dory type boat and pulled his nets in by hand. I remember him making his own nets. In Newfoundland we had a cod moratorium (I think it was for 10-12 years, but never really came back on a large commercial scale) when I was a teenager. Thought the small inshore fisherman weren’t the problem it was the large factory trawlers that just decimated everything and destroyed the ocean floor. Our government couldn’t do much about those because they would be off the 200 mile limit of our waters. It was a very rough time for everyone. My dad was a fisheries officer and it was very stressful. I think the plastics pollution issue right now might be the straw that breaks the camels back. Overconsumption and throw away society is just killing us.

        • I agree! It is those huge off shore mother ships and their fleets that should be outlawed. And trawling which is so destructive. They pull out everything – it makes me wild. And yes- the plastic is devastating. Plastic has to be on its way out. Surely . All we can do is cut our own plastic use- be inventive and thoughtful. We will do the best we can until big business catches up.

  10. It’s been pouring rain for days here so that’s my ocean visit, right to my door. There are plenty of lakes around here but no substitute for the ocean. The picture of the two shit hawks is fantastic 🙂

  11. There really is nothing like the ocean. We are very lucky to live here in coastal Maine, where we are only a mile from Muscongus Bay. There is nothing as healing as the ocean air and the song of the waves.

  12. So happy you were able to be there soaking up the ocean and feeling the sand in between your toes Celi! And experiencing the love of family! No doubt they are all overjoyed to have had you with them. And no doubt the Farmy is awaiting your return. XOXO

  13. what a marvelous blog posting- such joy and exhilaration in your days on the coast! Lovely photos- especially the girls and the tide pool!

  14. You’ve expressed perfectly what happens to me when we head too far inland on one of our trips. Like you, I was raised on a smallish island with sea all around it and cool grey cloudy days. I can’t thrive anywhere the sea is too far away, and just get restive and parched when I’m too far inland. As for wrangling family around food and into coats, there’s only one way to describe that, and it’s ‘herding cats’! I hope the salt air has healed your soul. Wish i could bottle some for you, for emergency puffs when it all gets too much.

    • Emergency puffs of sea air!! Perfect. Once we hit the coast I had the window down and my nose out like a dog – breathing it in. Every beach has a different layer of scents and this one was all about seaweed!!

      • Yes! Nose out, sniffing for that first hint of salt, ozone, sun-on-rock, seaweed or whatever other amalgam smells like home. In Melbourne, I used to step off the train at my home station and take a deep breath of sea air, and whatever the day had held just dropped away and I relaxed…. Smell is so primal.

  15. Water is life. I grew up around fresh water–lakes, rivers, creeks. I love them and the sounds and smells of them. Likewise, once I moved east, I visited the ocean and found the same thing–I knew exactly what you were talking about with the sounds and smells and the feel of the air. I could loop that video clip and go to sleep to it at night…

  16. What balm for your soul! I know exactly what it’s like to miss the sea. I can imagine every cell in your body is refreshed and glad.
    I am so happy for you! And I feel so fortunate to have the sea only 5 minutes away. From this Aotearoa shoreline to yours, watery wave crashing greetings!

  17. The ocean and beach replenishes our spirits… the sounds (of your video clip ♡) , smells and just being… Although I was born and grew up in a country town my Dad tells me I have been going to the beach since before I was born, and we regularly did the couple of hours drive to the beach during my childhood. It is still my happy place, and as your photos show, a wonderful place to be with family… and also yourself. I felt upliifted by the joy you conveyed. Now I live away from where I grew up but in a valley between the mountains and the beach… and it feels like the right place.

  18. There is happiness pouring out of every word you have penned . . . so glad you had these all too brief days in a feeling world to which you could relate . . .

  19. I live about 130 miles north on that beautiful coast. I can never get enough and treasure every moment. I will be leaving for Germany in a few days. Is the book Letters to my Little Sister still available?

  20. Ah, I can almost hear the waves and gulls. The smell of the salty brine. I have not traveled yet this year and I can tell it in my restless attitude. I get very crabby when I am tethered too long. Glad you had a good trip with family also.

  21. I’m glad you got to top off the tank of your souls needs for a little while. There is something about the ocean beach that nothing else can fill us with. I’m hoping you found your center again here.

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