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.