BLACK TURBAN SHELLS fill the tide pools in San Diego. When they are alive, they cover the rocks at low tide like some sort of barnacle. After they have died, they become homes for tiny blue-legged hermit crabs. They are one of my favorite shells. This watercolor shows them with a branch of seaweed & some strands of eel grass.
SAN DIEGO TIDE POOL DISCOVERIES – Every day walking on the beach brings a different experience. A brand new moment of the beauty of nature. The Sanderlings run to & fro trying to outrun the incoming tide while they feed between waves. Their tiny legs moving so quick-quick in a blur are like cartoon road runner legs. A mussell shell filled with sand makes a lovely container sparkling like an abalone shell in the sunlight. A kelp crab, still alive is huge & gorgeous. I return him to the sea where he belongs. Scallop shell tapestries fill my mind with the desire to paint. A sand dollar with sand designs around it is like a comet. Make a wish. The real surprise of this day though is a pile of sand dollars some unknown person put into a pile shaped like a heart & they left it for me to find. Every day by the sea is lovely.
EARLY NOVEMBER – FULL MOON – MINUS LOW TIDE – A beautiful full moon created a minus low tide & the reef rocks appear everywhere. Bright green eel grass drapes off the reef rocks in green curtains swaying in the undulating sea lapping at the edges of the tide pools. Tiny fish swim in small round pools between the reef rocks. Harbor seals have a lovely rest off shore on the cool eel grass beds. I spend a few hours speaking to the tons of people walking out onto the reef rocks to keep them back from disturbing the seals. I point out the little fish in the tide pools, tell them the names of the birds & about the lives of the harbor seals. I am motivated to do this because living by-the-sea is my home & I hope that if people know what they are seeing, they will be respectful. The tide pools are fragile & cannot survive if all of the visitors to San Diego take tide pool life home with them to die or damage it to the point that it can’t recover. Buying your children or grandchildren buckets & nets to catch tide pool life for fun may seem like a good idea, but it is not. Finally, the City of San Diego installed a sign near one of the La Jolla tide pool areas saying “Look, Don’t Touch” so that visitors will understand that the tide pools are protected & will not take live sea shells home to die or hurt the tide pool life while they enjoy looking at it I hope these signs can be posted in other tide pool areas in San Diego. Harbor seals are wild animals & this is not a petting zoo either. Enough. I am only one person, but I do what I can do to protect my home by-the-sea.
To create emotional balance, I take a walk on the beach looking at the beautiful sea shells. Sunset clam shells are one of my favorites here. (Every sunset clam shell looks different, just like every sunset is different.) A Heerman’s Sea Gull walks along in front of me picking up shells from time to time. I don’t know what he is looking for, but I am charmed & delighted that he accompanies me. Sitting above the harbor seal colony on the beach, a slight breeze is blowing & ruffles the feathers of the Western Sea Gull sitting near me. I think of petticoats & tutus as I watch the gulls feathers lift & flutter so prettily. Who knew that sea gulls were dancers? The sun sets, it grows dark, tourists leave for dinner & I stand up & say goodnight to the sea.