The city or the country? Which would you pick?
Between the city and the country, I’ll always pick…
A beach, with the city mixed in.
This was a question from Facebook, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to put it here. I grew up in big cities, and visited small towns. I’ve never really been in the country. Not even sure how it would be defined.
Maybe farmland? If so, I have been to Kingston, Indiana, where I saw corn growing taller than me at the side of the road, waving in the wind. But it was so far to go anywhere, and not much when I got there.
I grew up in Southern California, right on the doorstep of Hollywood. Friendly palm trees stretching into the blue (or sometimes yellow-gray) sky…lots of sunshine.
And the beaches. We didn’t go much to the local beaches. Malibu was always packed with people out sunbathing. But we would drive North, along the 101 and later the 5 to Central California. The area has a lot of mountains that bump right down to the beaches. The freeways cut through the mountains, so on the right was the rocky hills covered by scrubby grass and chaparral. Always brown and dried out.
On the left was the ocean stretching out as far as I could see, deep blue against the line of the sky and darkening where it got deep. The water was both foreboding and inviting.
The waves curled up high, then crashed down on the beach, spreading out across the sand, foaming and bubbling. High tide would leave a line of kelp on the sand, smelling of sea and decay. I’d go out to the kelp and stomp on the air bladders that kept it afloat, then hunt for the shells embedded in the sand.
I could always find broken shells, especially mussels, which weren’t very pretty shells. Other common ones were Chinese hats–limpets; butterflies, which were two shells connected together; and sand dollars, flat disks that were nearly always broken.
Then it was off to check out the rocks. The beaches always had black, jagged rocks poking up out of the sand. Inside were pockets containing tide pools. I always found sea “enemies” with their flower-like tentacles twitching in the water as they fed. Clusters of barnacles clung to the rocks, sticking their tongues out at me.
At Morro Bay, which was always our destination, the sounds of the sea lions having a big party carried across the water. Sea otters popped up to the surface and rolled over to float. The sea gulls barely designed to look at the humans approaching. Get out of the way? Not important to them.
The wind was always a bit brisk and cold, but I could spend all day looking at everything and never seeing the same thing.