It’s about time. And sunset.
Despite trouble sleeping, our time in Southern California was great. We drove in through San Diego, rode the Pacific Coast Highway as far north as Morro Bay then south again and east into the desert. We saw friends and made friends, bummed around beaches and hot springs and ate some seriously delicious food.
I have hand-written lists and a hundred photos of our California highlights. There are notes about the freshest basil in our Caprese salad at Pummaro – how its sweetness filled my nose with each bite.
And the frogs and butterflies and fairy light in Pismo.
And the heavy ocean mist in Huntington Beach, how it rolled like thick grey smoke from the ocean down the pier and into the windows of the beachside shops, settling in, snug, for hours.
I carved out a space for the madness that is Laguna Beach and how, in the chaos, no one seemed to notice the whales Bumpas and I watched slowly cross the horizon, surfacing just for us.
The best was beaching ourselves for whole days at San Ononfre, Tourmaline and Cardiff by the Sea, indulging in sun and sand and surf, chatting up the eccentric, tanned characters around us who were doing the same thing. We ran the dog around, imploring him to quit drinking the ocean water. We read and napped and drew pictures in the sand, watching the tide come in to wash them away – mandalas that had served their purpose. And we waited, anxious but patient, for sunset.
What’s so great about sunset, right? It happens, without fail, everyday.
It’s about time, really. The ability to spend the time, waiting and watching the day slowly unfurl in ever-deepening tones and curl itself around the world. It’s the ability to just BE for a while, to breathe in everything that’s happening around you at that precise moment. It’s being still and quiet and perceptive of all of your senses at once.
And it’s the perfect lighting for Bumpas to run around like a crazy person and take pictures, capturing the essence of the day and the place.
Californians make time for this – they take the time for sunset. They pull up in cars to watch out the window or bring blankets and chairs to the beach and cuddle up. They stand on the pier and snap photos of contrasting, shadowy palm trees against the glowing, fiery skyline. They stroll through the sand right at the line where it meets the ocean, skipping across the lapping tide and pausing here and there to stand and watch, mesmerized.
The point is time. Purposeful time. Electing to take the time to be wrapped up in this entirely natural beauty, just for a little bit, just before we succumb to night and sleep and tomorrow. Maybe that’s why sunsets are so stunning: the day pulls out all the stops for her grand finale, putting on her favorite colors so that in a flash of brilliance she shows her appreciation to the watchers. The time keepers.