January 26, 2019

I heard the seagulls calling to me and I followed them to Laguna Beach.  They led me to little children giddily running across the sand to splash their toes in the sea.  How can it be both cloudy and sunny at the same time?  It was an aesthetic combination.  I shared some pizza with a seagull.

The sea both beckoned, and said “Stay away.  This is my territory.”

As the seagulls swirled about, a group of kayakers paddled out to make a circle in the sea.  It looked more like a class than a paddle out to honor the death of a surfer.  But, just in case, on a large rock in the sea close by, the many birds stood quietly in respect.  Then, one by one in a very straight line, each kayak paddled to another spot where they stopped once again.

Was it the sun, the grass, some blossoming plants?  They all became my enemy on this otherwise perfect warm and sunshiny day.  A massive allergy attack made me miserable.  A handkerchief held against my nose that had turned into a faucet blocked the expansive view where a pseudo traffic sign on the cliff read rightly, “Infinity Clearance.”

The sun shimmered in a path on the sea top.  That always makes me think of trying to walk across the sea to … where?  The horizon?  Another country?  Outer space?

In the company of seagulls, hummingbirds quenched their thirst in the flowers that beckon to them.  I read recently that flowers know when the birds are near.  Nature is much more clever than humans can imagine.

Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze.  Damn, damn, damn, damn — the double edged sword of so many things that can both thrill us and make us miserable.

Gotta move.

After drenching 2 handkerchiefs, I suspected that my allergy wouldn’t follow me into a building.

I went to the Laguna Art Museum.  I knew they were planning a talk that evening and I thought I could hang out there while looking at the new exhibits.

Turns out that there was only one small exhibit available for viewing because they are gearing up for their annual auction to raise money for the museum.

The small exhibit had a  corner where I could sit on the floor and listen to the video while waiting to see if my nose would stop torturing me.

I had time before the evening lecture to walk out again to the beach to watch the sunset – I have grown old, but watching a sunset never grows old.  I knew the perfect place to watch the sun dip behind Catalina Island down to the sea.

The clouds that had been there during the day had dispersed except for one area around the ball of the sun.  They lent an artistic touch of dark sweeping lines that I imagined as Chinese calligraphy.

A small crowd of people had gathered there, including a special touch at sunset — a guitar player quietly accompanying the dipping of the sun.  The addition of music enhanced the spirit of the setting sun as a lone seagull turned a gentle gold color as it flew past the sun.


November 9, 2014

Written while watching a performance of Lita Albuquerque’s “An Elongated Now” on Laguna Beach, CA, on November 8, 2014, showing the bond of art and nature.

Two hundred people clad all in white walk barefoot single file onto the beach to wait for the sunset.  Waves roll in and out again.  Swimmers splash and a couple of boats stand still.  Paddle boarders float by.  Pelicans and gulls fly, unconcerned by the line of white-clad people forming along the water’s edge.

The two hundred white-clad people turn slowly in unison to face the sun.  It is still bright and casts its glory on a path over the ocean and to the shore.  The incoming waves curl as if to enclose the white-clad people.  A beachgoer does cartwheels along the beach.  The white-clad people closer to the brightest part of the sun turn into black silhouettes.

A cool breeze comes up on the unseasonably hot day.  The golden touch of impending sunset casts the sun’s glow on the yellowing white-clad people.  The shadows fall across the now-dimpled hills and valleys of the sand.  A blond girl walks across the sand and a long, thin shadow follows her.  A couple walks on the sand in the other direction with two thin strands of shadow preceding them.

The blue sea is yellowing now as the sun’s rays blend into it.  The faces on the white-clad people are bisected by shadow now.  The light changes as the sun sinks and our planet turns.  Art and nature combine.  A spot on the sea begins to sparkle like firecrackers.  The sun glints off the windows of the houses on the hillsides.  Is the sun sending a message to the glass of the windows, or vice versa?

The sun is brighter now, consolidating its yellow gleam while the black of the silhouettes deepens into shadow.  The white-clad people stand very patiently still, quietly being transformed by the setting sun.  A very tall, lithe girl on the beach balances dramatically on a round soccer ball that mimics the blazing ball of the sun.

The golden path from the sun across the sea is breaking up.  The golden glow on the beach is graying.  The sun sinks slowly behind the mountains of Catalina Island before it can reach the sea.  And now it’s half gone.

Steadily, the sun sinks until it is gone from view.  It is dusk.  Light pink streaks through the sky where the sun has gone.  It is not one of the incredibly colorful sunsets known to Laguna Beach, but it’s peaceful.  And still the white-clad people stand still and quiet while the sounds of the incoming waves get louder.  The birds have gathered on a rock in the ocean.  Are they also watching the sunset, or the white-clad people?

A drone flies in and by to capture the art piece.  The white-clad people slowly revolve in place.  As they turn, they look down at a small blue light that each holds in a hand.  The sky darkens as the white-clad people stop revolving.  The little dots of hand-held blue add a broken dotted blue line to the scene.

A few people still swim in the darkening, warmer than usual sea.  The large boulders in the water are etched more clearly by their deepening blackness against a pink sherbert stripe in the sky.  The white-clad people walk slowly off the beach, each still holding a blue dot.  The pink sherbert stripe subtly changes to orange sherbert as the two hundred white-clad people walk away in single file.

It’s only 5:25 p.m.  Sunset comes early in November in southern California.

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