The thing I love about winter and fall at the beach is how clear the sky gets. The skies are so blue and the clouds seem to go on up forever unlike they do in the summer and spring when they hover low and thick because we usually have a marine layer of fog and low clouds. I catch myself looking up at the sky often and wondering if I could be like Georgia O’Keefe and paint the clouds. What colors would I use? How could I capture how big and vast they are and how small they make me feel?
I was out in the desert with my Dad this last week and I caught myself admiring the crazy cloud formations after a quick desert thunderstorm. There were big giant towering formations with glints of gold around their edges. It was beautiful.
“Aren’t they amazing?” I asked my dad as we were walking between my mom’s old house and her new studio apartment next door, carrying a load of household items with us.
“What? The sky”? he asked, looking at me like I’d lost my marbles. “It’s just the sky.”
I shook my head in disgust. How many people have I encountered who could walk right past a brilliant sunset and not even notice it? But before I shuffle my dad off into the pile of people who just don’t see things the way I do, I have to give him a break. He’s a long haul trucker, and he does drive across the country weekly. He sees all kinds of skies. I notice bright brilliant skies more because here at the beach we are so often socked in with fog or a hazy mist. In fact, it’s misty so often that when it’s clear, the mountains scare us. Where’d you come from Saddleback?!! Of course, I love the fog. But I love these crazy blue skies too.
We had a great beach day, Bug and I. It was pretty hot and the water was soooo warm! It’s funny how that happens. It has something to do with the upwelling of cold water from the bottom of the ocean in summer and then that goes away in the fall. Water temperatures are much colder in July and August than they are in October. If you like to swim in the ocean, I’d suggest going now. It’s the perfect temperature. I hardly ever go in the water since I’m terrified of big surf but I spent quite a bit of time splashing around and even getting wet all the way up to my hair yesterday. Of course I didn’t swim out past the surf, like I’d like to. I have to wait until Bug finally learns how to swim to do that.
So anyway, I’m reading a book my friend Sonja lent me, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as you can see up there in that picture Bug took of me. It has me just as perturbed as that other book. Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and not think about these terrible things. La la la la la la, I am IGNORANT!!! As most everyone already knows it’s all about the author Barbara Kingsolver living off her land without being part of the massive industrial food chain that America has become today. No more tomatoes from Chile, no more hybrid turkeys that will never reach their full maturity because if they did they’d become too fat to walk, etc. It’s all very well and fine and I admire her greatly but I just discovered Costco this year so it is not sitting with me well. Lettuce in GIANT bags! Peppers for less than a dollar each!!! Please don’t take that away from me! Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. It’s still a very interesting book though and it has me looking twice at the fruits and vegetables I buy.
Which brings me to this little Japanese-French bakery another friend of mine took me to the other day. Cream Pan in Tustin. We missed breakfast so I really don’t know how wonderful their French pastries are. I’m sure they are absolutely divine because that’s what everyone says and I could tell by the meticulous way they kept their shop that anything they did would be perfection. It was so cute and French inside. But mostly what impressed me was the thriving garden of Japanese eggplants growing in front of their store.
See? Eggplant! Great big purple beauties too. There were bunches of them. I don’t even like eggplant (I don’t think; I haven’t really tried it enough to say) and these look good enough to eat to me. I might even go back there and try an eggplant sandwich just so I can say I’ve eaten one grown in a strip mall. It truly amazed me. The plants looked strong and healthy, not covered with dirt and brake dust like I would expect from growing right along side a parking lot.
And then on the other side of the building was a trellis of bitter melons! I actually didn’t know what they were but a nice woman was walking by and overheard me wondering about them aloud to Bug. How ingenious is this? The vines act as a sun shade to the restaurant inside AND they grow melons! Or something like that. There were also some sunflowers and something growing along the bottom that I didn’t really look closely at because I was too overwhelmed by how cool the vine sun shade was. This small plot gardening put me to shame. I have about a four-foot patch of dirt between my neighbor’s air conditioner and my other neighbor’s fence and sadly I’ve done nothing with it but grow lemon-scented geraniums and buried a few dead birds. The geraniums have thrived and taken over but they’ve given me no fruit or vegetables. Harumph!
Back to what I am doing well…
…enjoying my beach and these amazing fall skies. I really need to break out the paints and attempt to capture this. Though I know I would fail miserably.
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Also! Please go read and comment on my Pancakes! post for Kellogg’s Share Your Story program. Don’t be shy! You might win $100!