Sunset on the Bluffs

Dick was in Chicago for board meetings on Friday.
Lilly came to play for a couple of hours in the morning,
and Eric picked her up about 11:00.
“Whatcha doing for dinner tonight, Mom?”
“Oh, nothing much. Got some leftover chili…”
“Have you taken your walk yet?”
“Well, why don’t you meet us at the bluffs
in Carpinteria and take your walk
with us tonight.
Then we can go out to dinner.”
What a grand idea!
Nothing quite like an invitation from your children, right?
So I drove my way through the small neighborhood 
which borders the oceanside path.
 Their family of four had walked down from their home and were waiting when I drove up.
“Can you believe this view is right here, Mom?
We can walk here. 
Isn’t that something?”

That’s something, all right.
 I will admit to liking this view a lot, too.
Two girls in the fading light.
Especially the pink boots.
 So we set off to the south.
Mama and Dada and Gracie and Lilly
and me.
We were heading to the seal rookery.
Yes, we have one of those nearby –
but your normal, everyday sea lions,
many of them heavy with pups.
To get there, we walked along the edge of the bluffs,
through the eucalyptus woods,
by the oil refinery, hidden just north of the train tracks.
 The rookery is right on the beach next to the oil company pier.
Great care is taken to be sure this area is protected from undue noise or confusion, so that these mamas can rest, give birth and nurse their young.

The Chumash Indians who used to live in these parts 
came to these headlands to build their canoes. 
Because of the copious amounts of black pitch 
available right on the beach – 
oil –
that precious commodity of 21st century life,
that bane of environmentalism,
oil seeps right through the sand all along this shore.
The off-shore rigs have actually helped keep the beaches accessible, in an oddly ironic meet-up of modern technology and environmental science.
 Within the next few weeks, all of these
sausage-like creatures will push out new pups,
and the place will be ringing with the noises
of new life.
 Trying out a new camera as the sun sets into the sea.
 Checking out the seals and the birds, too.
 A greater egret and a brown pelican rest for a moment before heading to their roosts for the night.
 The Surfliner heads east and then south to San Diego,
sending out its mournful, evocative cry all along the way.
 Even the intrusion of spidery equipment looks
quieter and dreamier in the last of the sunlight.
 And a telephoto close-up reveals the striped glory of sky 
and sea as night approaches.
 I have lived in Santa Barbara for 15 years.
I’ve been down to my local beach countless times.
I’ve traveled to other Santa Barbara beaches weekly.
But I’d never been to these bluffs in Carpinteria
until my son suggested I come and see.
I never stop learning from my kids – 
and that’s exactly as it should be, I think.
It was a lovely walk.
And a great dinner, too.

“From all eternity, Lord, you are.
The waters have lifted up, O Lord,
the waters have lifted up their voice,
the waters have lifted up their thunder.
Greater than the roar of mighty waters,
more glorious than the surgings of the sea,
The LORD is glorious on high.
Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house, 
O LORD, until the end of time.”

Psalm 93:2c-5

Joining with L.L. and Laura for their weekly sign-up – as playdates go, this was a fave.
And as far as a sense of place? Oh yeah, this spot has it in spades.
On In Around button

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  1. What a gorgeous spot! And those girls are delightful. Nothing beats time spent with our families, but adding in scenery like this certainly makes it extra special. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift(s)!”

  2. Carol, you are so dear to stop here so faithfully and to write something kind in this comment section. Thank you!

  3. Oh, Diana. Sure is something, for sure. I wonder, if I had such a place nearby…would my writing improve for its inspiration or cease altogether for the ways I could get lost wandering that shore? Just beauty, is all. And those little girlies are cute as can be. These images are balm for a sore heart today.