10 maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone. For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
Searching for better words to describe the nearness, accessibility and grandeur of the sea, I browsed through several poems about the ocean in the Academy of American Poets. Neither Hawthorne nor Whitman, for all their literary greatness, could accurately conjure the feeling of standing on the Pacific brink. Where Hawthorne’s Atlantic waves are dark and brooding, the waves that break against the California coast are frothy and inviting.
That’s the thing about California: as grand the Pacific is, as intriguing and varied its coastal terrain, all that would inspire awe and weightiness is undermined by the abundant sunshine. The sun just bakes all your cares away, so sweetly you can’t remember your troubles.
Even sea lions come out to bask in the sun.
Sunbathing with their pups.
The terrain, too, feels more fantastical than foreboding. Rather than the grey, weather-beaten rocks of an Atlantic harbor, here the coastline exposes what must have formerly been a submarine ecosystem. Now, it looks like a set from Star Wars.
Not that I’m complaining. California is a beautiful place, and as an East Coast transplant I could add a little sunshine to my disposition.All this is just the result of recent musings about the cultural differences between coasts. I do miss the stormy seriousness of a nor’easter, the broodiness that makes Whitman feel in the wet tendrils of a breaking wave the beckoning a lost loved one.
But on the other hand, it’s not such a bad thing that a California Saturday consists of sun, sand and surf.
No indeed, not bad at all.