I made sure to don my mittens this morning before I left for my walk. While we’ve been living here, we’ve averaged only a handful of days during the winters, perhaps four or five, and then not usually until into February, when the temperature drops to around 32° during the night. This winter’s been different. Nearly every morning for the last couple of weeks, as well as several days in December, the path down to the estuary has been lined with a dusting of shimmering crystals. I’ve needed to add “close the window ” and “turn on the space heater ” to my routine of getting dressed and leaving a note for my son, before I go out for my morning walks.
One morning recently, it was 49° in the room when I got up. A wee bit chilly. Can’t say I’ve been in an awful hurry to climb out from under the covers these last few mornings. :o) But the bay calls, and out I go.
We don’t have a central furnace in our apartment. (It never gets cold on the coast of California, right?) There is some mysterious source of warmth, we think it might be an ancient form or radiant heating, as indicated by the presence of thermostats in each room, but no one knows for sure. When we first moved in, the manager recommended that we never use it because it’s outrageously expensive to run. So, we turned it off at the breakers and supported our local hardware store by purchasing a small heater.
My friend Tuffy met me at his gate and we played for a while.
The sun was just peaking over the hills when I reached the estuary, the grasses and vines rendered golden, sparkling with frost. And as I walked along the beach, it looked like there’d only been one other person out so far this morning. Nice.
The bay was calm, but I could hear the surf thundering from the far side of the dunes. It’s interesting to me how on some days it’s like this, and then on other days, there’s barely a whisper, only the faintest hint of what’s beyond the protective arm of the sand spit. Some nights, like last night, I’m able to hear the ocean through the opened window, humming a lullaby as I fall asleep.
When I rounded the corner towards the pier, I could see that the tide was out far enough so I could walk along the outer edge, avoid the area we refer to as the “super muck.” Along this edge, the sea grasses wash onto shore, and together with the curious mixture of mud and sand, they create a wonderfully slick surface — almost as good as ice for sliding. :o)
Nearing the hotel, I smiled at some coots as they scampered across in front of me from a small pool and into the waters of the bay. Then I left the beach, walked through the garden, the tips of my fingers frozen in spite of the mittens, and my thoughts turned to home, warming my hands on a hot mug of coffee, writing, and spending some time drawing.