Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When we were in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, we OF COURSE walked on beaches: Manhattan, Venice, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara. It was pretty nice, especially as it was February, in the 60s and 70s, and surfers were out in force, and machines made the sand level and pretty, and at least one guy let it all hang out.
Note, however, the somewhat faint praise. I hate to complain (well, not quite true, it's fun to complain about California) but all the city beaches were the same: wide, long expanse of sand, volleyball nets, one pier for each town, waves all about the same height and intensity all the time (how do the surfers choose which beach to use, which waves to ride, which tourists to impress?), boardwalks, houses crowding cheek by jowl to the sandy edge of whatever local ordinances allowed. They would be different in the summer only in the number of people doing whatever it is people do on beaches. Santa Barbara was better, just a little beach, with mountains, not smog, as the backdrop.
So: no granite ledges; no tidal pools; no long stretches of infinitely variable rocks; no lobster pots; no cold, diamond-edged sparkle off the wintry bay; no sea smoke; no rockweed, or crabs, or starfish; no loons, ducks, seagulls, cormorants, osprey, eagles; no deer tracks in the snow, no fox dens in the cliffs; no pointed firs growing at water's edge and leaning picturesquely, seductively, towards you alone.