Magellan and Drake—At it again!

If someone were to describe me they wouldn’t put the term adventurous in even the top twenty-five descriptors. But then again, adventure isn’t the same to any two people.  Jay and I may disguise as two “grandparently” types…but we are really explorers. Give us a worthy opportunity to get out and about and the ordinary journey turns into an expedition.

As of this weekend we have been blazing trails together for 40 years now. That’s a milestone, isn’t it? I laugh when I recall what I used to think 40 years of anything represented, but I’d now simply say that I’m grateful.  A grateful perspective is very helpful in softening many life speed bumps we’ve encountered along the way. And I’m grateful, too, that after 40 years we can still make a simple weekend fun. That’s what we did. We explored Laguna Beach together—I will always choose the ocean for a get-away.

Laguna Beach was established as an artist’s colony when in 1903 a San Francisco artist, Norman St. Claire, left fog-shrouded Northern California and became a permanent resident. St. Claire encouraged artists from all over to come to Laguna for the opportunity to paint in the open air and today the city boasts museums and art galleries as well as the yearly Pageant of the Masters– incredibly faithful art re-creations with real people posing as the “living pictures” representative of the original paintings.

But even more to my liking, Laguna Beach is both a bird sanctuary and a state marine reserve.  We spent hours watching the ocean for signs of whale migration. They are out there, it’s migration time, whether I spied one or not!  There were other vacationers with stories, and Jay thinks he saw the footprint and maybe even spout, but I didn’t.  I did locate a dolphin pod and that’s quite a sight, too.

Lot of gulls...but no whale sighting!

Tide pool exploration is also right up my alley. Laguna’s tide pools are particularly noted for their close proximity and easy beach access.  When I was a child we used to disturb sea life, even to the point of collecting and bringing it home. I can recall coming to the beach as part of school field trips to explore the tide pools and at that time we were even encouraged to collect sea stars, anemones, crabs and who knows what, only to bring them home in buckets of salt water.

How to behave in a marine ecological preserve

Thankfully we are wiser today, or hopefully so. Signs are posted everywhere with the reminder to look with your eyes, not with your hands! The coastal tide pools are home to a vast and diverse marine ecosystem protected by law. We walked all over the area, carefully sidestepping areas that looked to be “home” to living critters. It concerns me that at some point these wonderfully accessible stretches of beach may be closed to the public…the story is out that “Laguna’s tide pools are being loved to death.”

We continued our adventure by walking, walking, walking…long stretches of beach with interesting rock formations exposed along the cliffs. January is a great time to explore and walk virtually uninterrupted.  With the exception of some beach joggers and a few solitary dog-walkers, we had private walking and talking time. This stretch of sand would be far less accommodating in July and August.  So we just enjoyed and took our exploration about as far as we could before the public access stretch of sand buttressed into some very exclusive private property!

Interesting rocky foundation supporting one of the beachfront homes

My family knows that I periodically need the sight of a good sunset, and my favorite viewing is the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.  There is something very spiritual in a good sunset! I recently enjoyed a book on the life of Georgia O’Keefe. She was said to have appreciated sunsets, describing the time of day as when the world appears less structured and when forms tend to dissolve, replaced by new colors and sensations.

I think that is a lovely metaphor for our next “40” years, don’t you?

Happy trails…Debra

32 thoughts on “Magellan and Drake—At it again!

    • I must admit that I almost felt a little uncomfortable posting these photos! I have so many dear friends across the country telling me about their snow and wind-chills! Each region has its beauty, but it is tremendously “easy” for us here, I know. Then again, Southern California has it’s major drawbacks, so maybe we cling to the lovely weather as something to hold onto when other “issues” aren’t quite as savory??? Hope you have access to a cosy fire! Debra

  1. Debra, what beautiful pictures! Laguna beach sounds like a great get-away! I’m from San Francisco and I know what you mean about sunsets over the water. It’s such a serene sight! Thanks for sharing and congrats on 40 years! -Deepali

    • Thank you so much, Deepali. I love hearing from you. I hope you might visit Laguna sometime. We visit San Francisco at least a couple of times a year to be with family, and I am so interested in how Northern California and Southern California differ in coastline. Both are quite wonderful! 🙂 Debra

  2. 40 years is a good long time to be exploring, Debra. Congratulations. What a wonderful way you and Jay chose to celebrate it.

    Your pictures are beautiful of Laguna Beach. We were there with the girls quite a few years ago now and they still talk about it. I’m glad to see it is such a protected area. We grew up in times where everything, it seemed, was ours for the taking and the price for that is now being paid. I keep hoping . . . Tom and I would enjoy this kind of a day.

    Yes. A beautiful metaphor. Here’s to 40 more.

    • Thank you, Penny. 40 years is one of those “whew” numbers, isn’t it! I’m so pleased that you and the girls were in Laguna and enjoyed some Southern California coastline! Maybe you’ll be able to visit again sometime. When I think back on the way we as children treated marine animals, literally pulling living creatures from the rocks and bringing them home (which means, of course, they died quickly), I just can barely wrap my brain around that. It was ignorant, yes, but barbaric, too. Ugh! I do think children today are being raised to be more respectful of the environment—maybe not of people, but of critters! Ha! But it’s a start! D

  3. Congratulations on your first 40 years together! Such a beautiful place to spend the day and, to think, you brought us along. Thank you for sharing your pictures of so grand a place and so special a time.

  4. Dear Debra,
    Forty years! When we were young that seemed a lifetime. Now that you and Jay are celebrating your forty years together you are already thinking about the next forty. What a tribute that is to Jay. And yes, your final photograph and your walking and sharing are truly a metaphor for the next forty.

    I’ve never stood on a beach and viewed the Pacific Ocean. You entice me to come to California for a sunset!


    • Thank you, Dee. We have truly enjoyed hearing from others and receiving congratulations from across the country. What a delight to be able to share in this way. Forty years can at times feel like a lifetime, too, when I think back across the years, but as we get older we do count each year as a treasure. If you ever find yourself able to visit Southern California I would love to show you a sunset on the Pacific Ocean. Wouldn’t that be fun! Debra

  5. Sunsets are spiritual I would certainly agree w/ O’Keefe, and your photo of this one brings that so invitingly into view (and at Laguna–I am so envious). Congratulations to you and John. I do sense the explorer in you both. Warmly, Ellen

  6. Pingback: Beneath the Tides of Sleep and Time « Paucis Verbis

  7. What a wonderful post, Debra, words and images. 🙂 Happy anniversary and here’s to many more of them. We shall have been married 44 years in April and still know how to have fun – one of the secrets of a long and happy marriage, as you say.

  8. Fabulous photos! And to think about the rock pools and the sign about not touching, or turning rocks over. I have mixed feelings as I totally understand about leaving nature be, but as a kid on holiday, peering into rock pools to see what was in there was a pleasure and a learning curve. I feel a bit sda that some kids will miss out on this experience, but understand the reasons at the same time

    • You’re right! I, too, know it isn’t healthy for the tide pool environment, but it’s difficult to engage children in the experience with a “no touching” rule. I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed the photos! Debra

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