Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Hey, Ocean, Who Are You--and What have you done with the ocean I saw yesterday?
When I moved to my new place just a mile from the ocean, I never imagined how much the beach I visit each morning can change in the course of day. There's a slope down to the water...until there's not. The sand is like brown sugar...until it changes to pebbles. One day there are dozens of softball size rocks on the sand, and another there are rocks, wafer thin, perfect for stacking into mini-cairns. Yet another day brings dozens of fist-sized crabs. A couple of days, it's been a pinniped funeral parlor--I believe the top body count was five or six on the stretch that I walk. The birds seem to rotate in and out, too. Crows picking through the sea weed, squadrons of pelicans dive-bombing the waves, seagulls nestled into the sand gathered for what seems to be some kind of seagull sit-in. Some days there are sandpipers, and then sandpipers are nowhere to be seen for weeks. There are days when the islands are invisible. Days when the three parts of Anacapa lie distinctly separate on the horizon. Days when the curve of the coast toward Ventura has vanished. Water: blue, green, gray, silver, sparkling, or dull as mud. Waves mighty enough to bring out the surfers, then nothing but a gentle lapping.
This morning I was surprised to see that the once seemingly distant life guard tower was a mere twenty paces from the surf. The beach was broad and flat, pounded firm. Channels had been sharply carved in the packed sand creating impromptu tide pools. Snowy Plovers raced in and out of the foamy margins where the water met the sand while surfers rode the waves.
I was my usual amazed self.