Friday, March 28, 2014

The Perfect Storm

California Dreamin

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.
I've been for a walk
on a winter's day" 

Heading out in the early morning hours the rain had just started in Southern California where I'd spent time with my family. It's difficult to put into words the excitement the beginnings of a great road trip presents.   My mind dances around with images stored of rocky coastlines and ocean leading waterfalls and lush greenery.  Coastal dunes and tide pools to explore, the crash of waves and the cry of sea birds.

 As much as I love the deserts, rock formations and the landscapes of the southwest where I live, I'd long felt my photographic palette tipping heavy with sandstone hues, red-rock textures, scrub bush and sage and I needed a change.   

Fresh coffee by my side and the hum of the wiper blades to keep a rhythm, I'm gone.   Time is plentiful, the mind is content, the mood is nostalgic 
and the spirit is sensing a re-connection.  
This is where I'm meant to be right now. 

As I head up the California coastline a major storm sweeps over and I'm literally side-lined for two days.  Sitting in a little coffee shop in Big Sur and chatting with an elderly couple visiting from Australia, I'm content to read a book and restructure an itinerary.  The intensity of the rain puts a hold on the photography for awhile but I still want to go explore the area. 

I need to secure a campsite for the evening and add waypoints into the GPS in case I'm running around after the sun sets. I've learned that navigating winding roads far from city lights can be a bit unnerving in unfamiliar territory. 

I pick my place to camp near the beach and dress in full rain gear. I leave the camera behind and set out to explore the beach, rocks and tide pools.  As much as it's been raining, in the absence of wind, it's almost balmy.   Years of erosion on the rocky shoreline produces the most beautiful natural sculptures.   Smooth little pockets of water and deposited shells.  The un-touched shoreline strewn with seaweed, polished pebbles, shells and sea glass. Sea sacs and surf grass intertwined in artistic mosaics. 

I realize I've been walking around and playing in the tide pools for hours. Lost in the moments, taken back to another time and place.  Hours have no meaning and I forgot that I grew up. All my pockets have little pebbles and shells in them. I'd excitedly pick up a rock and then drop it for better one. 
In my mind, I hear "I like this one…oh, I like…"

The little cove is losing light and I need to get dry and make the campsite.  First I want to head into town to get dinner and as I'm heading back the storm becomes heavy again.  I love the sound of rain when I'm warm and dry in the SUV.  Dialed into a coastal oldies radio station, I hear "The Mamas & Papas"  California Dreamin and it sets the mood for the whole adventure.

On such a winter's day.