I already shared some of the photos taken from our Laguna Beach weekend. It took some creativity with a calendar to carve out an entire three-day weekend in the busiest month of the year, but we had a reason to prioritize a get-away.
We were cashing in on a belated Mother’s Day present. In May I had promised my mom a full day of shopping in Laguna Beach. A day at the beach would also be a late spring kick-off to a season we hoped would be full of many little get-aways.
But in early May –before we even made it to Mother’s Day, my dad ended up in the hospital. A really tough bout with pneumonia left him so weak he had trouble swallowing his food without choking or aspirating. There are so many muscles involved in the swallowing process and you need to be physically strong for everything to work as it should.
Six months of speech therapy to strengthen those tricky muscles and rebuild the swallowing reflex coupled with months of sticking close to home and following a bevy of doctor’s orders…
And I’m delighted to report that dad is stronger and in better overall health than we could have anticipated.
So this was our celebration weekend.
For mom it was a delayed Mother’s Day shopping spree…we jump-started Christmas shopping instead.
And for my dad, I wish I had thought to take a picture of him thoroughly enjoying his restaurant meals.
Although it has been very hard for me to watch my parents go through such a difficult time, I’ve also found it lovely to watch them stay solid in their commitment to one another, unwavering in their personal faith, and disciplined to follow through with all of the therapies while patiently waiting for answers.
So it was absolutely necessary that we finally make it to Laguna, and instead of just a shopping day, extend to include an entire celebration weekend.
We had such a good time, we may need to make this an annual event.
And this week there are four of us ALL breathing lighter!
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.
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.
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!
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?