SUDDENLY IT’S SUMMER – Now that it is summer there are children playing on all the beaches. Mother’s arrive to the beach early with umbrellas & all the baggage that kids seem to require, but the kids really just want to play. The beach can be a perfect sand box for even small children to dig to their heart’s content. Watching kids at the beach making mud pies, building sand castles and hunting for seashells, all the while running along the edge of the sea & screaming with laughter just makes me smile. After the children get completely coated with sandy mud, they just take a dip in the ocean!
One day I find two creative little girls creating a gigantic heart out of cobblestones & seaweed. I am so delighted to find that being in nature for just a little while returns children to do the things that I loved to do in my childhood!
The cobblestones are returning to the sea now. As the cobblestones rumble & roll about in the ocean waves, it is a throaty sea song welcoming the return of the sand. Walking over cobblestones is a good way to turn an ankle so walking to the tide pools here in winter is not possible for me. Once the beach returns to sand at low tide it will be easy to walk to the tide pools & people will ride bicycles on the beach at sunset.
“June Gloom” is a coastal weather condition. The fog rolls in off of the ocean & hides the sun. Tourists often come here in June wondering where the fabulous San Diego weather is they have heard about! I don’t mind “June Gloom” because it keeps the mornings cool & once the coastal fog burns off the afternoons are sunny.
I often walk along the edge of the sea at low tide. If there are any sea shells to find, it will be only at low tide and even then mostly after large storm waves have brought them up. The beaches here are mostly empty of shells now that there are so many people collecting. I try to collect my sea shells now by taking photos instead of bringing them home, but a large Frog shell is such a rare find that I pocket it to take it home to draw it. At some point I will return it to the sea. The Scallop shells are so lovely to find in all their speckled shades of gray-blues & burnt oranges. One morning a worn Scallop shell peeks out of the sand with a lovely antique patina created by the sea. Another day a Scallop shell of soft pink edges is turned up like a bowl & is filled with beach sand like sea sugar. Walking at the edge of the sea is a lovely way to fill my heart with beauty.
Tuna crabs are still sometimes washing up on the beach. I see that sea gull parents are feeding their chicks Tuna crabs, but mostly I think the gulls got sick of the Tuna crab diet. Near the tide pools there are often lobster & crab shells washed up onto the beach. The colors in lobster shells are often deep reds, oranges with tinges of deep purple. The crab shells are bright pink-red on the exterior, but the interior is a speckled lavender-purple wonderland. Striped shore crabs scurry on the beach at low tide. They live half their life on the beach and half in the sea. Their pink-purple claws contrast nicely with their seaweed green shells. These crabs are no bigger than my thumb nail & it takes a sharp eye to spot them on the open beach.
Summer solstice arrives marking the turning point of the longest day. The sunny days bring Californian poppies opening their golden petals each morning to lift their flower faces to the sun. Long, hot summer days seem to be endless now & our faces lift joyfully to the sun, too. Like the poppies though that will bloom & fade Summer Solstice marks the subtle change of each day becoming shorter & shorter because no summer lasts forever even if we wish it so.
This year brought a full moon at the same time of Summer Solstice. The last time this celestial event occurred was 68 years ago so this is the first time I’ve seen what is called a “Strawberry Moon”. I drove up to Mt. Soledad to get a close up view of the rising moon & was surprised to see that it really was definitely a pink-red moon! It was so beautiful. I drove to Mission Bay so that I could see the “Strawberry Moon” reflected in the water there. I found myself humming an old Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” while watching this magical moon on the bay.
I no longer measure time by birthdays the way I used to. Now time is measured by cycles in nature, which change according to the seasons. Even here in “seasonless” San Diego, the seasons change by the coming & going of cobblestones, the arrival of “June Gloom” & the blooming of the Yellow Bell trees lined up on the street in Bird Rock. The bright butter-cup hued bunches of flowers in the trees with dark green fern shaped leaves mean that yet another year of living by-the-sea has gone by for me. I have no regrets of the passing of time here because I revel in the beauty surrounding me. I could not ask for more.