July?

A couple of cool foggy days not subjected to the normal hurricane-like conditions that prevail on the central coast this time of year. The wife and I drove through Big Sur on Friday morning and stayed overnight at Moonstone Beach, so that she could get up early on Saturday and exhibit her art work at a small show in downtown Cambria. So many people come to the coast in the summer to escape from the awful days of inland valley heat. We were lucky to find a place to stay.

I spent the morning walking up and down the wooden-plank sidewalk that skirts along the beaches and cliffs at Moonstone. At one time people could find moonstones in abundance on these beaches, but I’m sure that by now they have all been pocketed. Nothing much of any value lies about in the public eye any more, unless it is too big to put in one’s pack. I go looking for scenery because no one can pick it up and carry it away, but can only take photographs.

The other day I saw a woman with a metal detector walking intently through the sand. I asked her if she had found any Spanish gold, and she said “nope, only a couple of quarters…parking meter money”.

The sandy coves at Moonstone were full of people yesterday. The word “July” sounds so much like “Did you lie?” I realize now that I did indeed go lie on the sand this past month, so when winter comes around and I think of July, I will be able to say “Yes, I did”. The calendar on the kitchen wall has flipped to August and plenty of warm summer days are ahead, so I will continue to go lie. The ocean temperature may begin to chill by the end of August, but the sun-basking weather may continue until Halloween.

At Moonstone the ground squirrels stand on their hind legs and watch the waves breaking on the reefs below. It must be a behavior that they have learned from the local surfers.

On our way home from Big Sur in the afternoon yesterday, we noticed that the herd of perhaps forty wild elk that normally pasture themselves along the banks of one of the smaller rivers north of Hearst Castle had moved from the eastern side of the highway to the western. The only way they could do this, I believe, is to walk along the river and cross under the bridge that goes over the highway. I’ve stopped near the bridge several times to observe them, and never seen them move much.

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