Tomorrow I get to return to the place where I am literally in my element: the ocean. Los Angeles County beaches reopen for activities in the morning; I am grateful to the state, county and city for letting us see the light of day. I sincerely hope we don’t blow it; I’ll be social distancing and wearing my mask — when I’m not in/on the water, that is. I’ve been imagining tomorrow’s schedule for weeks:
7 am. Get up and take the dog for a nice long walk down at Cabrillo. Used to doing this at least twice every day, Alexander Hamilton has been perplexed why we have been walking every direction but the most obvious one — toward sea, sand, and sky — for the last two months. I suspect he will feel close to as much joy as I will when we stride past the beautiful mission-style beachhouse and say hello to the inner harbor.
8 am. Pull the kayaks down to the shore and paddle off. Waves and weather permitting, my husband and I plan to pack a lunch and spend a long day out on the water. We will be hundreds, if not thousands, of feet from other human beings, but hopefully not from the dolphins, seals, and maybe even whales. We may jump in and swim/snorkel. Bud will fish.
Sometime in the afternoon: Pull back ashore. Swim.
3ish: Reluctantly drag our butts back on land so the dog can get his exercise — at the beach again.
6 pm: Dinner.
8 pm: Evening walk on the beach. Who knows, maybe there will be bioluminescence?
Next day: Same thing all over again, but on the paddleboard.
I’ve made my peace with the sand. It does no harm on the sheets. It isn’t dirt; with a gentle swipe, it brushes off. And when you’re on a whole bed of it, it’s a soft and malleable mattress — nature’s memory foam. Last night I fell asleep in a sleeping bag on the beach by the campfire, the sky a patchwork quilt of stars, now that the moon has turned down its brights and they can make their own brave candles seen.
A few hours earlier, I’d been lying on the lake, languidly backstroking and staring up at the perfectly blue sky, when the bald eagle flew over. It landed in a dead tree at our neighbors’, its white head and tail and brown body silhouetted across the azure. It let us walk right underneath it, eyeing up Otis as a possible meal as we approached. Cole stood on the bank directly below the tree, taking pictures. The eagle craned its head and stared down at him, perhaps sensing a kindred spirit in this towhead. Cole responded by going behind him and making screeching noises, like a baby bird. The eagle turned around and looked at him. You could see the muscles of his neck ripple, his eyes as he stared, his yellow talons holding the branch. Then he flew off, maybe looking for a smaller dog further up the beach. Cole says this avian visitor was the best part of the trip.
Eagle by Cole
I’ve learned to accept the noises outside at night and let the sound of the waves lull me asleep. (It helps that the moon is no longer shining its full beacon through the tent windows, though what a sight it was when it was lighting up Cole’s face in the night, like a spotlight.) Last night I got up to go to the bathroom in the Port a Potty, and Paleface greeted me outside, rubbing against me, purring — he likes camping. It was still bright enough from the half moon and the stars that I didn’t need a flashlight. White wisps of cloud foregrounded the Milky Way. Maybe Paleface is right.
This morning I got up and the Lake was still, like glass. I dove in and took a morning bath. It’s so warm this year, there’s no gasp of shock when you hit the cold.