I climbed into my chariot in the cool morning air of Tuesday and drove up the coast for a lightening quick getaway. LA traffic is ultra light these days so I can be seaside in short order. I headed straight for a coastal walking loop that starts on the beach. Afterwards a socially-distanced lunch on a porch with a friend. That evening I met my friend Sharron, for a round of sunset seeking in Carpinteria. We started first at the beach, then followed the orange glow over to the Salt Marsh where we admired the deep orange rosehips on the tiny wild marsh roses. We stopped periodically to sniff the fragrant roses and marvel at the tall stands of blooming chaparral mallow.
There is much to be noticed and absorbed as one meanders the path over to the Franklin Creek Bridge. Some of the pickleweed gets partially submerged at high tide as the channels are filled. It’s blue-green stems and leaves resemble pine branchlets. Next time I visit I will get a good close-up photo to show you, of not only the leaf shapes, but the bright clear color which can’t be seen in the mounds of pickleweed lining the banks below. Imagine a plant that can be submerged in salt water twice a day! If only we were that adaptable.
i have enjoyed visiting the marsh once a month since April, watching all the changes in marsh flora and fauna; witnessing the parade of new wildflower blooms. The changes are subtle and offer quiet rewards for the steady observer.
It was here that I saw the comet on Tuesday night. I walked back into the marsh around 9 p.m. from the 4th Street entrance and there I stayed in the dark waiting for a sighting of the comet. It was cool and windy. I could hear voices of young people floating over to me, but gradually they left the marsh and I was left alone. I watched an enormous spider casting her nets in the small trees above my head. Setting traps high above the path. Behind me, the Milky Way glimmered and in the southeastern sky Jupiter and Saturn had lit their torches for the night. I scanned the northwest sky with my binoculars and after about 45 patient minutes I was rewarded with a sight that made me gasp. It had just been too light earlier, but now at 9:45 p.m. the sky had blackened enough to see the downward trajectory of the comet. It was plainly visible through my binoculars. I thought it would look star-like, but it didn’t. It was a soft smudge of white, slightly blurry with a soft tail fanning out in an arc above the comet.
I wish NEOWISE comet had a better name than the instrument that located it back in March: Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. But the name is unimportant I suppose. If you’re on the hunt for it, locate the Big Dipper and scan the area just below it once the sky is dark. Here in California it sets a couple of hours after it becomes visible.
The next morning I headed to Hendry’s for a long walk on the beach below the Douglas Family Preserve. A high shelf of fog kept the air cool and I didn’t see the sun until I was on my way back.
I’m listening to the Poldark novels which bring to mind seascapes by the Luminists – American landscape painters of the mid-19th century. I’ve interspersed some through my photos below and some text from the first Poldark novel in the long series that I am contentedly listening to when I’m in the car. Winston Graham is a good writer.
“Joshua dozed. He thought he was out walking around the edge of the Long Field with the sea on his right and a strong wind pressing against his shoulder. A bright sun warmed his back and the air tasted like wine from a cold cellar. The tide was out on Hendrawna Beach, and the sun drew streaky reflections in the wet sand. “
“He skirted the field until he reached the furthest tip of Damsel Point where the low cliff climbed in ledges and boulders down to the sea. The water surged and eddied, changing color on the shelves of dripping rocks. With some special purpose in mind he climbed down the rocks until the cold sea suddenly surged about his knees, sending pain through his legs, but it did not stop him, and he let himself slip into the water until it was up to his neck.”
“Then he struck out from the shore. He was full of joy at being in the sea again after a lapse of two years. He breathed out his pleasure in long, cool gasps, allowed the water to lap close against his eyes. Lethargy crept up his limbs. With the sound of the waves in his ears and heart he allowed himself to drift and sink into cool, feathery darkness.”
“Joshua slept. Outside, the last trailing patterns of daylight moved quietly out of the sky and left the house and the trees and the stream and the cliffs in darkness. The wind freshened, blowing steadily and strongly from the west, searching among the ruined mine sheds on the hill, rustling the tops of the sheltered apple trees, lifting a corner of loose thatch on one of the barns, blowing a spatter of cold rain in through a broken shutter of the library…”
How glad I am to have discovered these volumes of books. They will keep me in much reading pleasure through the rest of the summer and autumn. Thanks to the public library for seeing fit to carry all of them!
I leave you now with the rest of my beach treasures seen and marveled at yesterday morn. Take good care friends and keep in touch.