California has been perfect. The highlight of the past few weeks has been to go to the seal rookery where hundreds of bay seals are giving birth to pups. They keep the pups on this beach for a few weeks teaching them all the tricky ways of the water and the shore.  It’s a sublime sight and experience. It’s nature in the raw creating new life as it has for aeons.2012 Seal rookery

Everyone around here knows it’s birthing time but each week there are physical disturbances:  people walk on the beach, let their dogs run loose, the oil company boats make more noise than usual in their round the clock servicing of the oil rigs we can see not far away.  Even the train goes through whooping way too much. It’s disrespectful and it’s mind bogglingly dumb.

When you see nature unfolding in this way, you’d think the instinct would be to protect as best we can. Well here in the Carp there are wonderful volunteers out on the bluffs every during the season. Very helpful and really kind about dishing out information. I like to think they reflect the majority of the population.

Yesterday a wind came through that was so intense you could see it. I happened to be looking outside and, all of a sudden, I could see whitecaps rising on the horizon. Within minutes they were hitting the beach and sand was flying every where:  especially all over the apartment. Going for a beach walk was out of the question, even hitting the used book store was a test of fortitude and the ability of nose and hair to absorb it all.

And today, our last day, hoping for one more hit of paradise, we’re going through the destruction of the winter berm. It went from a place to sit and watch the sea to something to be knocked aside. It protects our building and all the houses built way to close to the shoreline and we love it because it makes us feels safe. But oh boy you wonder what’s going on in the ecology of all that sand being spread about.

From this sunset

sunset 2012 on the berm


To this:

death of the berm 2

It looks like a moonscape now and somehow things might right themselves. But I keep wondering when we’ve gone to far with this mucking about.

We’ll find out eventually. Everything in this fragile landscape is affected by human interference. And of course we want to come back and we want it to be just the same. We want it to be the paradise we’ve always known.

  • Donna Balzer

    March 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    You are gonna so hate coming home after all this life affirming outdoor time. I am gearing up for speaking engagements but dreaming of my trip to mexico!

    Heh and where is your new book?

  • Susie

    March 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Marjorie,

    I read your article in Zoomer magazine. Your garden has inspired me to do a complete overall in ours. We have lived here for over thirty years and the yard is quite lovely with a pool and all but it is time to mix it up a bit!

    I particularly liked your mention about “garden porn”.

    Soon I will be headed to the garden shops.

    Hope all is well.


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