Carmel-by-the Sea, California

I’m in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, which is in California’s Central Coast, on the Monterey Peninsula. The climate here is the draw: it is year-round, temperate weather, often shrouded in coastal fog, which gives it a misty quality that reminds me of historic parts of the UK. What makes this part of California unique is the prevalence of cypress tress. I have spent the past few days going down to Carmel Bay for a long walk on its white, powder sand, and can’t resist photographing the area with the convenience of my cell-phone camera! I’m sharing the photographs I’ve taken here so you can get an idea for the magic that is Carmel-by-the-Sea, California!

Malibu, California on a Sunday Morning!

I recently discovered a new set of stairs to the beach. It’s been two years and 8 months since the Malibu fires swept through the area, and these new stairs are part of the reconstruction of an area I can walk to from my house, known as Leo Carrillo State Beach.

Straight on from the stairs is this view. I am as familiar with this area as I am with the back of my hand, and am forever amazed at the constant yet ever-evolving tide that changes the beach landscape from one day to the next.

Walking left are these massive boulders. According to the strength of the tide, there is always drama happening, and I wait for the waves to crash against the boulders as if I were waiting for fireworks to light up the sky. At certain angles, the waves collide with these timeless boulders. They erupt in a misty-white plume that paints the blue sky, and I think of time and tide and it’s ceaselessness, and the fact that the ocean’s anchoring constancy is something I can always count on.

A closer view

And closer still. At this spot, I take my shoes off and wade knee-deep in the water until my heartbeat aligns with the tide’s rhythm.

I use this South end incline to get to the cliffs above for an elevated view of the Pacific Ocean. From the cliffs, you can literally see the curvature of the earth. There have been days when the wind is at such a fevered pitch, it’s hard to keep my footing, but on other days, when the air is still, I stand and look out to forever.
This is the view from the cliffs. There are two trails to take from the spot where I’m standing to the lifeguard station you see at the end. One trail hugs the edge, while the other meanders in serpentine fashion through the indigenous landscape, which changes month-upon-month. My favorite time is spring, when the yellow mustard seed and coreopsis is plentiful. All around, a vibrant yellow lifts my mood.
A closer view. It is high tide in this photograph, which creates a series of coves.

This photograph was taken from the top of the stairs not far from the lifeguard station to a cove on the south side of Leo Carrillo State Beach. The cove is a perfect arc, and during low tide, you can walk along the coastline to the stretch of beach on the other side of the lifeguard stand.

A view of the cove from the sand.

A cove view from the life guard stand above. The yellow flowers you see here are coreopsis, which look like bouquets of daisies.

This is the serpentine trail that cuts through the landscape on the cliffs of Leo Carrillo.

The view at the end of the path that looks South: because my camera lens faced into the sun, this photograph darkened

This is another path that leads from the lifeguard stand to the asphalt that leads to Leo Carrillo State Beach’s campgrounds, which is tucked in a heavily wooded canyon, and which you can’t see from the side of the Pacific Coast Highway.

This is the view of the Santa Monica Mountain foothills on the other side of the Pacific Coast Highway– across from Leo Carrillo State Beach. I wanted you to have an understanding of that which can be seen as you drive through Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway. These photographs were taken in Western Malibu, and it is a quiet, rural area I feel as if I have all to myself, save for the height of summer when people come to the beach. This area is not as popular among tourists as other parts of Malibu ( such as the infamous Zuma Beach) because it is far out, almost at the Ventura County line. As part of the California coastline, the area is specific, peculiar in nature, and part and parcel to the place I call home.

And here is a video taken of the tide at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu!

Seaside, Malibu, California – YouTube

A Celebration of Plants

I have a deep appreciation for plants, both indoors and out. When plants grow in Southern California, they flourish year round, and often reach monstrous proportion. As an ice storm inconveniences the American Southeast, I’m counting the many blessings of living in sunny, Southern California. Many of the photographs included in this post were taken in a Malibu, residential neighborhood called Point Dume, while other photographs were taken in my yard, and some inside my house.

Aloe Vera

Murphyi Agave

Double Aloe Vera plant

Agava Attenuata
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Mother in Law’s Tongue
Succulents on the side of the road, Point Dume, Malibu, California
From a lemon grove in Somis, California
This 2 year old lime tree is in my yard!
The current state of plant affairs in my dining rom!
Close up of one of two potted fig trees. They are now 3 years old.
In early January of this year, our three German shepherds got in on planting our live Christmas tree! Each year, we buy a live pine tree for Christmas and add it to our yard. Currently, there are 20 Christmas trees in our yard and 40 other pine trees, which makes a grand total of 60.
A long view of a lemon grove in Somis, California, 30 minutes away from Malibu.

Potted blooming cactus

Bougainvillea on the side of the road: Point Dume, Malibu, California

Fountain Grass
For good measure, this is our shepherd, Sorcha, in the Fountain Grass.


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Westward Beach, Malibu, California

2:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday, January 4 2021
One of 3 Lifeguard Stands
I love when my camera captures the mist on the wave!
View of Westward Beach taken from the trail that goes up to the Point Dume Headlands
The fall out of a wave
A favorite place at the south end of Westward for climbers, and the trail that goes up to the Point Dume Headlands
I never tire of watching the waves
Multiple waves due to the coast’s angle
This sun through the clouds

#wishyouwerehere!

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Out Walking This Morning

I’m on a walking path that trails along the cliffs of Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, California. It’s 67 degrees at 8:30 AM, and all is quiet. It seems I’m the only one who has thought to get out this early, and I like it. I have the area to myself, and although I have Groove Music and earphones, I have forfeited that in favor of listening to the rhythm of the waves. There’s something timeless about this area, something constant and steady, and looking to the great beyond, I see the curvature of the earth from America’s last edge before Hawaii.

I am always torn between wanting to stay in the moment to keep it for myself, and capturing it with my camera. I’ve lived in this area for twenty years, yet I’m endlessly awestruck by the uniqueness of each wave. They are ceaseless and arrive with their individual story; each wave a life-force with its own beginning, middle, and end that completes its destination then draws back intuitively to make space for another. The waves draw back to their source to become one with their origin; each wave is itself, yet it’s part of the ocean and I stand and think of unity and wonder where rebirth begins.

I wish this photograph gave an accurate scale of the expanse. Before me and behind me is much the same as you see here. Around the cliff at the right is a long stretch of sand similar to all others in this part of the California coastline. The tide determines how far I can walk; there have been times when I could walk for hours, and times when the tide was too high to walk around the bend.

This photograph is taken from an elevated view along the trail’s decline that ends at the beach. The rock you see at the left is the favorite perch of sea birds that cluster together, spreading their wings in impressive numbers, no matter the time of day. It is their resting point, their sanctuary, and they occupy this rock in harmony. It’s an interesting observation: I’ve seen seabirds on this rock innumerable times, and the thing that strikes me is I’ve never seen them less than accommodating for each other.

A closer view of that rock. If you look closely, you can see the seabirds.

I often take my camera, aim the lens and wait for the perfect moment, which I think is the time immediately before the wave folds and stretches for the sand. I don’t always capture it, but this next photograph comes close:

This photograph is telling of how one wave can break with multiple timing. Always, my aspiration is to find the middle of the dance.

I like this endless view because it gives me proper perspective… on a lot of things, actually, all having to do with time and tide and my place in eternity.

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