Sunday, March 23, 2014

green and blue coastal views

As I mentioned in my last post, we took a short trip down to California's Central Coast - which we were amused to hear referred to as The North Coast, by those evidently oriented not to the whole state, but to Los Angeles...?

While anticipating the getaway, which was all my dear husband's idea, I started thinking about the edges of the oceans, and how they give us a certain perspective. If you sit or stand on the shore and look seaward, you have all those millions of people behind you, and before you a vastness of water and sky to soothe the eyes and mind, and to make you think. Why don't we all constantly gravitate to the coastlands so that we can be philosophers? It must be because we have so many worthy things we are called to DO.
 
Part of me wants to philosophize in this post, about a score of ideas and realities that are connected in a fascinating way. I could even write a short book for me to read about the ramblings of my mind over the last week, stimulated as it was by books and movies and history and theology that all seemed to relate to our trip.

But I will restrain myself, because I had my time sitting by the shore and now that I'm back inland I need to get on with other things. I won't want to take the time to read that book anyway, so I'll just make this a simple chronological report.


It was at Paso Robles on Hwy 101 that we cut over toward the coast, and the hills began to be greener, with even greener fields of newly-sprouted Something scattered here and there. The farms! Of course we have lots of farms in our county, too, but south of us they grow lots of different things and it does my heart good to see it. Thank you, Lord, for sending the rain to green-up the hills that will soon be golden -- and brown -- again.





Our hotel room in Cambria had a lovely view from the balcony, not just of the ocean, but also of the lush gardens on the property, with some of those favorite plants that I only see when away from home, like proteas and our beloved Pride of Madeira.

Pride of Madeira






The latter is one that we enjoyed many times on wedding anniversary trips we've taken, because it blooms in March. This time I told Mr. Glad that we might consider it "Our Flower."

a protea
town of Cambria from the boardwalk

As soon as we brought in our bags we set off on the boardwalk along the long strand of Moonstone Beach, which appears to have a population of thousands of ground squirrels living under it. They popped up on one side or another every few feet to say hello and beg demurely.

Many benches sit along the boardwalk, too, providing places for philosophers to gaze out at the great beyond. Some had extra, very personalized signs and plaques, screwed into them.


Down below we scrambled on the rocks and found crabs and snails and seaweed in the cracks and tidepools.

All the salt water stands in stark contrast to the drought that is especially bad on the California coast. At our very nice restaurant in Cambria they charged us for water with dinner! Just 30 cents for a bottle, but enough to draw attention to the problem and prevent the waste of all those glasses of water that diners might ignore.

When we left Cambria we drove south and stopped near the town of Harmony to try out the Harmony Headlands trail that cuts through a swath of farmland to link up with coastal bluffs. We could smell the sagey-beachy scent that let us know the ocean was just over the hill, but we never seemed to be reaching a place from which to get even a distant view of it, so we eventually gave up and turned back. On the way back to the car this snake slithered off the edge of the trail. When I followed him into the field he froze and posed.


Neither of us had ever been to the town of Cayucos, which was our next stop. We liked this place a lot, with its casual and less touristy flavor. It used to be a shipping hub in the late 1800's, and it's close enough to San Luis Opbispo and the college of "Cal Poly" that there were lots of students in town, and surfers to watch as we relaxed on the sand near the old pier.

Cayucos from the pier

At one end of the beach a woman drew in the sand with her foot, to draw attention to a seal pup that was lying like a lump near the shore. I did think it was a lumpy rock, until I saw her circle.

She was also standing guard against dogs who had been bothering the animal that she said was malnourished and waiting for the marine mammal rescue people to come. When a group of school children approached, the pup lifted its head long enough for me to snap a picture.

blue ceanothus, cistus, and CA poppies



 










Later in the week on our way home I got in more close-up views of some favorite Spring-y color combinations -- at a highway rest area!

My tangible souvenirs were three, two rocks and a piece of sea glass, my material Gifts From the Sea. As to non-material and most valuable things gained....I'll be meditating a long time on that realm of Beauty.

12 comments:

MJ said...

lovely! life in california is SO different from the midwest!

Lorrie said...

There's something about the vastness of the sea that brings out the philosopher in many of us. I know that your thoughts and meditations will influence further posts, consciously or unconsciously.
I've never seen a Pride of Madeira - it's stunning!

elizabeth said...

looks very beautiful. I am so glad.

Sara said...

Lovely words and thoughts; lovely California. It is good to see the hills in green for a change.

Anna said...

Thanks for taking us along with you! a little virtual trip to the sunny Pacific seaside was just what I needed this afternoon, at the beginning of a chilly and tentative English spring :)

Farm Girl said...

Your post made me want to jump in the car and go for a drive, if only to see the green of those hills at Paso Robles. I am so glad you had such a nice trip and visit.
I love how you described everything. I always feel the same every time we go for a visit.
Can't wait to hear your reflections. I know they will thrill my heart as Anne Morrow Lindbergh does in Gift From the Sea.

Martha said...

So many beautiful pictures...I especially love the purple Pride of Madeira! ♥ This reminds me of our trip last year down Oregon to the coast of California. Wish we had more time and could've seen more.

Lisa Richards said...

A refreshing trip! Thanks for sharing! :)

Jeannette said...

Lovely to think of you two wandering in celebration of your years together. Your post is lovely and of course, flower by flower, brings up a few special memories for me. i can attest to the influence the sea has...there is an impact on the instinct to do...and a call on the longing to reflect and wonder after creation and it's maker...

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I love philosophizing by the ocean, too. I have some of my most interesting thoughts when we go to the beach in the summer.

Beautiful pictures! I'm sure your intention was not to incite envy, but you certainly have in this reader!

xofrances

Gumbo Lily said...

What a gorgeous photo journal you've created for us, Gretchen! I especially liked the Pride of Madeira and Protea flowers. I also liked the photo of the bench with the shadow over it (Mr. Glad?). It sounds like you had a very wonderful time. The souvenirs make me smile.

M.K. said...

I feel sorry for the baby seal. I hope it was rescued and cared for. I don't like to little animals scared. Your travels always seem restful, happy, warm -- California seems so exotic through your lens.