there are dozens of beaches to walk along here. and each is different. so many choices. the one above is a favorite. lots of solos out for excercise. they go around the point then swing back towards me 20 minutes later. i can tell they've done this many times before. they aren't up from LA for a week in the wild. they're ocean people. under their walking shoes they have flippers. i know it!
i watch the water change hourly and daily. from bright blue to navy. silver and violet. one day it looks like a silk parachute rippling and swelling. the next like liquid mercury.
the cold waters of the pacific are rich with nutrients. just offshore there are forests of giant kelp providing abundant food and shelter for sea life. parts of these kelp trees wash ashore. like leaves falling from a land tree.
this is the part that holds fast to rocks below the surface. the anchor. i found several still clutching their smooth sea stones.
the train carrying it's passengers off into the night comes by every hour. i love hearing it when i'm drifting off to sleep.
my dreams are tangled and strange. but not unpleasant.
and anyway i walk them off in the morning.
i am fascinated with all of the different kinds of kelp. like this enormous watermelon sized pod. i've never seen one this big!
from shore you can see ribbons of brown kelp glistening on the surface of the water.
sandpipers. lavender starfish. gifts from the sea.
i've spotted dolphins several times. once from the bathroom window! i rushed onto the porch with my good binoculars and watched a pod of about 10 swim around for 20 minutes in the same area. thrilling, wild, ocean living!
the moss national guard is sending troops out to kansas. dottie arrived today. brother ray is driving over from virginia and i am flying out next friday. lending some support to carol who is full-time caretaker of mama moss. we are bringing buckets to start bailing mama moss' rowboat. first we have to catch her though. she's headed downstream with a panicked look on her face. we have state of the art kayaks to follow along behind. carol is somewhere up ahead in her own kayak. steering her away from danger. i just hope my kayak doesn't flip over and i don't hit my head on a rock. ray said something about motorized boats being a better idea. he may be right.
thanks for the heartfelt comments. it really does help to know others have gone down this river before. your maps help.
julia prohaska says
Kayak that is, or maybe a knick knack patty wack may come in handy too?!
julia prohaska says
Safe travels Mary Ann. By train, plane, knack or motorboat. My thoughts are with you & your family as you navigate through this time.
Michele Unger says
I’ll keep you in my pocket for a while. Safe travels to Kansas and may you and your family find a good path to follow. It is such a difficult journey for everyone. Sending strength and love and lots of laughs, which will be there, when you are all gathered together.
Your pictures make me long to be on a beach, listening to the waves drift in and out. Lavender starfish, I have never seen anything like that before!!
Judy Wise says
What a beautiful post. I have goosebumps. Sending love and strength and all kinds of hopeful thoughts to all of you.
Jane Bumar says
Seeing that glorious and wild cold blue Pacific ocean makes it practically alive on my screen – particularly the delicate purple starfish. I love your Pacific; the clarity of light and all the colors and wonder. You need a soul balm at this time.
jeanette sclar says
You might was well warn the owners that this place is going to be booked solid by all the readers of Dispatch from LA!
The Pacific is so different from our cozy little Gulf of Mexico. Everything is larger and more colorful and wilder, not to mention cold. Since I rarely see it, I really appreciated your wonderful photos.
I am sending prayers for all the Mosses to a loving and caring God.
Barbara SP says
I love your writing. When I read your blog I feel as though my armchair is transported and I’m right there with you. Thank you so much for sharing. I always look forward to your posts.
Anna Maria Stone says
Was craving a little MAM and had my breath taken away by your glorious photos, which are practically 3D!
donna joy says
stunning photo’s. you really have a gift-thanks for sharing.
Kristi Shreenan says
MA,my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. My experience is that people, all people, whether suffering from dementia or not, really just need some connection. So I have found that holding my mother-in-law’s hand, talking about the old days, laughing and joking, going along with her comments even if I don’t understand them has been the best I can offer her. Being in the moment with her. Your mom is blessed to be so dearly loved by her immediate family and by those who have been introduced to her via your loving words. Your instincts are good, and your support system is strong. Things to be thankful for indeed.
With Thanksgiving nearing, I am so thankful for you and for your creativity. You bring curiosity and beauty to my days. Bless you!
cathy mcauliffe says
In the time I was taking care of my parents I found an article written by Reeve Lindbergh about her mother. I only have a hard copy but would be glad to send it to you. It is summed up in the last paragraph: ” What I want to say is, yes take care of your beloved elderly mother or father in the best way you can, but please believe in your own good-heartedness, however it goes. Remember that the inner weather of age, whether foul or fair, is not your fault, and it is not their fault either. Finally, at the very end, remember that all you have to do is move the furniture out of the way and be present with your parents. Then understand that from this point on, the floor is theirs–and let them dance.
Sherry Green Peck says
What incredibly beautiful photos!! I never new how beautiful the coast really was…and all the things alive in it are so fascinating…another world!!
TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME ….no more. Only today …it will get you through. I will be praying for you and your siblings and especially for your precious Mama. And keep the humor mixed in with those tears in your heart. I remember whispering ever so softly in my Mother’s ear when she was terminal…”If you die, I’ll kick your butt…” She looked up at me with a gleamer in her eye and that feisty grin of approval. I never talked that way growing up! It was a huge gift for me, that one look. …and several days later, I told her it was ok to go, that we would be ok. Hold on to what helps and keeps your heart. Blessings to you all for the care you have in your hearts for her and each other!!
sending love and hugs your way and the Moss National Guard Troops. Nothing like have great reinforcements.
So much of life is symbology in the ocean. The tides coming in and going out. Getting caught in the riptides, Kelp getting stuck in the rocks. Quiet tide pools. Stormy seas. A peaceful inlet. So much like our lives. Find peace in the rhythm of the water.
Judy H. says
Beautiful, beautiful photos. Wishing you all strength and peace regarding Mama Moss.
Beautiful photos.. what a great retreat. I want to live in a house by the sea one day …
I just read Carol’s report on Mama Moss, you are all the most valiant and willing troopers. Share the joys and the little things with that Moss Mama, you bring smiles to so many …
Thanks for these lovely pix of the Pacific…I need them now in snowy NE Ohio! My heart is with you & your family as you rally round to help with the care of your dear Mama Moss. We went through that with my Mom & it’s not easy…be sure to take care of YOU, too. I’m sending good energy your way.
Sharon | the teacup incident says
What a lovely journey you’ve been on this year. I’m sending heartfelt wishes that Mama Moss will grab one of those seaweed ropes and pull herself onto a playful dolphin. May you all converge where you need to and keep your rafts afloat.
I have lived inland for 4 years now. Must. Get. Back. To. The. Sea.
Big hugs for your family. I am glad that you have siblings to lean on as your mother travels this unfair road. Hope your visit is heartwarming and loving.
Glad you’re headed to your Mama and the troops next week. Just sorry that its necessary.
In the meantime, your incredible photos have added such richness to so many of our lives, even to those of us who walk those same beaches, thank you.
Bless her heart; you kids will be your mom’s best medicine.
My thoughts are with you and mama moss. Please tell me you sketched that lavender starfish!
Jane S. in PA says
How we manage to get through what life throws at us, I’ll never know. All I know is that we do, somehow, by pouring out whatever love and courage we can muster. Some of us are better at it than others, but I’m sure every little bit we contribute will help smooth the way. Trust yourself.
Absolutely beautiful, fascinating photos, Mary Ann.
Susie LaFond says
so many gorgeous pics of life by the sea and your post title reminded me of a book I read back in my 20’s ‘gift from the sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. A wonderful little memoir I remember enjoying very much. I think I might just have to hunt down a copy and read it again…hmmmmmm glad you are circling Mama Moss with your kayaks, helping steer her back to shore, if you need anymore buckets, hands to help carry any extra load, or untangle any pesky knots in the ropes, just give a holler and I’ll start rowing, everyone around here has a boat so I bet someone will let me borrow one for a couple of days. In the meantime I’ll be sitting here sending good waves and ripples your direction keeping the lighthouse lit and bright for all of you. 🙂
That was a perfectly beautiful post. You won’t tump your boat or hit your head; you know how to be present and still, you know how to listen and wait, and mostly you know how to “be” and not “do”. That’s all it takes. The map is in your heart.
While paddling, I found many many moments of sweet love with my mother, although we hadn’t been close before. There is a lot of weeping but some of it is for joy too. I cherish those days as much as I hated them.
I am planning 2014 trips and I think I need to try out Carpentiera.
Weep, weep. Keep paddling. All you can do is paddle through it.
Sending you the perfect paddle to keep you from flipping that kayak and to help you navigate those tricky Kansas waters.
Do tell what camera you are using for those ocean photos. The detail and resolution are just as lovely as the composition.
Hugs to Mama Moss, your sibs and you.
Janet Ghio says
Beautiful photos. Sending good thought for your trip to Kansas.
Vicki in Michigan says
Thank you for sharing your entrancing ocean visit with us. For ocean people stuck in the flyover states, your eye on the seashore is a balm and a gift.
I wish I had something useful to say on the Mom topic. Dealing with raising a child is hard enough — dealing with failing elders is much harder, I think. The resolution so opposite and so painful…………
Sending good thoughts as you all work on “better” when there is no “all better” that is possible.
Erika N says
Your little trip looks fabulous. Love walking by the ocean. Love all the kelp (those giant ones has amazingly big holdfasts compared to our tiny Atlantic ones) and all the other ocean creatures you photographed. I haven’t been through the mom thing, but I am straddling that point with my mom right now. Some days she is fine. Sometimes not. And with mine I don’t know if she’s suffering from anything other than boredom. But we went through it with my grandmother (my mom’s mom) so I do know it looks like. Hard to watch and must be hard to be suffering through it. Good luck with your mom. Its so hard when you become the caregiver to your caregiver (even if it has been years since she had to do that-she is your mom forever).
I loved all the photos of life at the seashore. Thank you for sharing. On the dimentia topic, my mother’s dimentia has steadily developed over several years and I didn’t know what it was. She’s well taken care of in an assisted living community about 150 miles away. She hardly talks but recognizes her caregivers and family. I used to post photos of her on my blog but haven’t done so lately because she lost some teeth. She is getting fitted for partials today and should have the new ones by Christmas. She will again be my favorite portrait model along with my granddaughter who hardly stays still at age 3-1/2. Enjoy your family and mama moss.
Sandy Derryberry says
Liquid mercury and lavender starfish are balm to my soul…
Tomorrow morning I will get up early and move my mother from her 1st floor studio apartment in her assisted living to a bedroom on the dreaded 3rd floor. Where you need a key to get on the elevator and you cannot go outside alone. My heart is broken tonight although I know she will be safe and encouraged here. I don’t have siblings but my children and my husband are manning the oars in my boat. God bless us everyone. You have my heart. On a lighter note, I love that you see the oceans changes. When we bought our house the owners said we would soon take the view for granted, and people asked if I get boring, looking at the same thing every day! I am constantly stunned by the ongoing show that calls itself Ocean. Beautiful photos, as always. My,my, how I go on.
Melinda Sohval says
I bet you and your sibs will bring amazing comfort to mama Moss..children are the balm for a mother’s soul…
julie macneil says
i drink in the sea from your photos in deep gulps, blinded by the sun sparking on the water. the sound of the waves explode inside my ears and the smell of salt in the air is so real i swear i can taste it.
Linda Watson says
Your heart is your best map. Hugs and love to the moss brigade.