The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

“Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.”  ~ Tamora Pierce

Take me to the beach. Just don’t let it be a crowded one; not a Santa Cruz, where hordes descend for thrill rides and corn dogs on the boardwalk or to build sand castles or play a game of Frisbee. I don’t need to see string bikinis, or middle aged spread in a Speedo (Really, really I don’t).

Take me to a secluded beach – and leave. It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s just that I’m picky about my beachmates. My companions of choice are my author of the moment, a notebook and the gulls.

I don’t need conversation. I’m content to hear the voice of the sea; though the ocean can be an insistent raconteur. Try as I might to read, write or just laze in the warmth, the waves always demand attention, and once they have it, it’s hard to turn away. The waves are charmers. As much as you will yourself to turn away the enchantment compels you to watch the next and the next.

A wave at Gray Whale Cove, Montara CA. at 1/13th of a second.

Above and below, Note the turmoil of the wave and the seeming serenity behind.

Shore birds float placidly behind a crashing wave. It almost seems as if the water is cascading from a table. Gray Whale Cove, Montara, CA.

Gray Whale Cove, Montara, CA.


Gray Whale Cove, Montara, CA

A wave can be small, gentle, a bump on the waist and a moment of bracing cold…

A view from the back of a gentle wave. Muir Beach, Marin County, CA.

or a wave can be a fearsome, crushing behemoth.

A wall of water. Ft. Point, San Francisco, CA

There’s a paradox about waves. There’s beauty in their awesome strength and serenity in their thunder.
“I found myself in a sea in which the waves of joy and sorrow were clashing against each other.” ~ Naguib Mahfouz

Gray Whale Cove, Montara, CA

Rockaway Beach, Pacifica, CA

In the end all waves, whether slight or mammoth or somewhere in between trail off into a gentle wash on the sand. 

Remnants of a wave shimmer in the morning sun.

The waves come to shore and perish leaving something behind while the remainder goes back to sea to be reincarnated into the endless cycle of waves.

The last of a wave washes over the rocks at Muir Beach, Marin County, CA.

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

13 thoughts on “Water IV: Waves

  1. Thank you for the wonderful pictures. I vividly recall my first experience with waves. I was born in Upstate NY, west of the Catskill Mountains, and didn’t go to the beach until my family moved to Florida. We arrived in the middle of the night. My father drove onto the beach, which you could do in those days. We couldn’t see anything, but the crashing of the waves filled the night. Nothing in my previous experience had prepared me for the volume of the sound. We stayed until morning. In daylight, the waves didn’t seem so loud, but they were still overwhelming. I was so fascinated by the way they galloped in and withdrew, over and over. There was no end to them.

    1. Paulie says:

      I would imagine that a first experience of hearing and not seeing the waves must have been awe inspiring. I still remember my relatives from Salt Lake City being so amazed when they saw the ocean for the first time. I’ve always been around it, grew up with it. I can’t imagine what it must feel like.
      Waves are mesmerizing to me.

      Now that we’re approaching summer the waves aren’t so imposing.

      During the winter, they get up to 25 feet and they can be frightening and awe inspiring. It’s during winter that rules 1 – 10 are all the same, “Never turn your back on the ocean.”

      1. Anonymous says:

        So soothing…for my soul. Thank you, Paulie.

        1. Paulie says:

          Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting Kyung.

  2. M.B. Henry says:

    These pictures are gorgeous and made me a little homesick for California <3 I'm the same as you – give me quiet and a good book at the beach!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thanks M.B. There were times, usually after watch A River Runs Through It, that I talked about moving to one of the mountain states. I’ve rediscovered the beach over the past few month and I’ve realized that I could never leave the coast.

      BTW, I thought of you recently because I’m planning a Route 66 road trip next month, from Barstow to Joplin and then who knows where after that.

      Hope you’re doing well in your own new adventure.

      1. M.B. Henry says:

        Ooooooh!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Do enjoy! I recommend getting a Route 66 Travel Guide. My husband and I used the Moon edition – I think they update it every couple years. Let me know if you want any other tips! 🙂

        1. Paulie says:

          Thank M.B.
          I guess I’m kind of old fashioned in that I like to defer to travel guides and maps (real ones that you have trouble folding 😁).
          Probably spend our 40th wedding anniversary in Amarillo Texas of all places.

          1. eden baylee says:

            Hi Paul,
            Why is the water green? 🤣

            I really love your pictures, and I see you’re experimenting with all the different filters. When it comes right down to it, your eyes sans filter are the pictures I like the best. 🥰

            I look forward to a beach again—anywhere … and to hear the ocean.


          2. Paulie says:

            Hi Eden,
            That’s aquamarine 😝.

  3. johnlmalone says:

    smashingly good photos, Paulie, and they really brought out the poet in you: your writing sparkles, rises and falls and rolls into shore like a wave 🙂

    1. Paulie says:

      Why thank you so much John. Much appreciated. Nice to know that my post wasn’t, to use an old surfing term, a wipe out.

      1. johnlmalone says:

        Lol 🙂

Would love to hear from you

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