Something to look at
When we are angry.”
~ Reiko Chiba, Hiroshige’s Tokaido in Prints and Poetry
Needing a respite from everything, I recently took a ride to one of my old Pacific Coast haunts.
Muir Beach is tucked comfortably in a tranquil cove a few miles north of the Golden Gate. Unlike much of the coastline where the mighty Pacific roars and crashes ashore, at Muir Beach the ocean rolls in; slow, soft, languorous.
In years long past I spent sunny afternoons at Muir Beach. To get to the northern end, the calmest section, where the ocean is at it’s quietest you have to clamor over a rocky spit. This is the only way in or out. At high tide you’re either stuck until the tide recedes or you wade over the spit feeling your way over and around the rocks.
The water is cold and you have to steel yourself to go for a swim. I’d dive beneath the surface, swim until I got tired and then I would just float on my back, soothed by the rocking of the water while I looked up at the blue sky. It was as if I was in a gently swaying liquid hammock. Sometimes I would perch at the water’s edge beneath the cliffs at the cove’s end and just look out at the ocean.
Back on shore, the numbing cold would hit me and I would lay on a towel, warming in the sun, eyes shut, and slip into a light sleep to the sound of the rolling ocean and shore birds.
Waves at the more exposed southern end of the beach are usually modest and gentle.
Years later I learned that great white sharks sometimes lurk off the Muir Beach shore. Continue reading