California

2011 January 10
by Lorna

“Yesterday we walked between rainstorms along the shores of Goats Neck Beach and then Wrights Beach. I loved one beach right after the other. Goat’s has the mouth of the Russian River running into the ocean. Birds float on it’s current like little kids going down a sled, over and over again. Just before the waves come crashing in on them, they fly up and over, only to start over again riding the River. We saw seals sunning themselves, and seals diving into the River at its mouth for fish. So much life!!!  I called a sculptor friend who also sails and loves the ocean just as I do, so that he too, could hear the waves.  There are signs that say, ‘keep facing the ocean to watch for ‘sleeper waves,’  peering backwards to see if you are being followed by a monster wave about to eat you up.

One would not think the mind and body and soul could carry the weight of mountains, the ocean’s waves, and all the things we each do and say and feel from how we live our lives on a daily basis, but, they do.

Port Reyes is a protected national park; getting there entailed a drive on windy twisted steep roads through pastureland. Black cows look like toys silhouetted on the tops of rolling sensuous hills. We passed eucalyptus trees along the roads, poplar, and Monterey pine.  Californian Live Oaks are so expressive that they draw themselves; they would be so easy to fall onto the sketch paper, as they are already drawn. The twists and turns of their limbs are knarly like apple trees only larger, right up to the sky, and even horizontal along the earth where they have rooted themselves. The textures of different trees is enjoyable, similar to the mixtures of different scotch broom brush textures I have seen in the southwest.  The rain has made the green of alfalpha an emerald green; when the sunlight hits it, which it did for all of five seconds today; it ignited with a streak of white green. The usual grey of brush and unplanted earth has turned a pink-grey from yet even more rain. It rains heavily night and day, day after day. A little piece of blue sky reminded me that there is a sky behind the clouds.  We passed the Bay River that got wider and wider as it ran into the ocean. We saw both a white and a blue heron, egrets, small deer, a skunk that ran heads with our little white puppy who almost ‘got it,’ and a fox.

Just as we got to where we were to hike, Abbots Lagoon, the rain stopped. We came to the Lagoon two miles later, a pristine, large body of water around which we walked.  I could hear the roar of the ocean, convincing my cousin Neil that it was not miles away, but maybe another mile. (I should remember that he is 9 years older than I am). Through sand we walked to the ocean. As we came up to the 20- mile long stretch of beach, the roar of the waves I will always be able to hear again  ‘on recall.’

From the air, Nevada is barren, of one muted color brown, and one big Lake, (Tahoe)? Next comes Utah, with mountains and more color variations of browns, many snow capped, then Colorado; the Rockies are one straight horizontal, the tops of which are consistently craggy and snow capped, catching the sun setting on them. To the east are endless miles of beautiful patterned farmland, completely flat, with geometric divisions, also changing browns with more hue variations, with the exception of an undulating tiny river cutting through the geometry. These patterns were paintings I wanted to paint, that I will paint, (another stored visual memory for me).  In the night cities all lit up came through the clouds; I did not know where we were, except that we were ‘high, high up.’ The sensation of flying is such an insecure feeling in my solar plexus, especially when we lifted up into the air as the earth was moving farther away, or when there was turbulence, and then again when we came in for a landing.”

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