Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the Beach


Well, the kids are back in school (as of August 19), and the tourists with their monstrous, ocean-view-blocking SUVs and RVs along old PCH have at least partically departed.

The surfers with their black wetsuits - which you never saw in the old California BEACH PARTY movies! - will always be with us, and that's OK. (The wetsuits are of course because most of the year you freeze you @** off going into the Pacific).

However, late August and the fall can sometimes be the true DAYS OF HEAVEN Out Here. Yesterday I had two extended swims in the surf and lingered with the pelicans until sunset while the tide was going out on one of my favorite remote beaches near Gaviota.

And the evening before I swam on the beach in the above photo (near Ventura) with hardly anyone else in sight.

Soon the avian winter visitors, sandpipers, godwits et al, will return as well. I always look forward to seeing them again.

So Heavenly Days On the Beach... for now.....

(But I'm also thinking of my relatives on the Atlantic coast of Florida who are experiencing terrible weather and flooding due to Hurricane Fay even as I write this).

Photo/Text COPYRIGHT 2008 by Ross Care

Santa Barbara Pyramid

Even the cemeteries are grandiose in California. This one is on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific in Santa Barbara.
Photo: Copyright 2008 by Ross CARE

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flashes & Distant Rumblings

Image, text by/COPYRIGHT 2008: Ross Care

After a prolonged visit to the Panda Buffet for lunch I slept through part of my birthday (August 14) so stayed up late watching DVDs that night. After seeing THE DARJEELING LIMITED and part of VELVET GOLDMINE I emerged from headphones to hear ominous (and real) stereophonic rumblings in the night.

At about 1.45 am a thunderstorm was rumbling across the Montalvo section of coastal Ventura. For anywhere in southern California this is unusual, almost unique. In fact, I had not heard such a racket from those little men bowling in the skies since we crossed the Nebraska plains on the 4th of July some years ago on The Way West.

As it turned out last night’s mostly rainless pyrotechnics outdid both the terrific storms I experienced on the Great Plains and even those monster cloudbursts in Florida and the South. The lightening last night came in both purplish, fog-muted flashes and huge kinetic bolts that snaked across the whole of the night sky in all directions. They were so brilliant they left a kind of imprint on your eyelids when you closed your eyes.

The jagged bolts sometimes left brief glowing domes of green light when they seemed to strike the ground. It reminded me of the alien special efx in the original George Pal WAR OF THE WORLDS. The effect was all the more frightening when I recalled that it was lightening strikes that started the recent devastating wildfires in northern California near Yosemite.

There was also the smell of eminent rain, that expectant redolence of first drops on macadam, by now an unfamiliar but well-remembered scent from another life when, unlike Out Here, rain still happened in summer.

About 2.05 a drizzle commenced. I optimistically closed an upstairs window. But I needn’t have.

For all the sound and fury there was not enough rain to form puddles or to create that nostalgic sound of rain spattering on the roof and pouring out of rainspouts.

About 2.15 there was a climactic thunderclap, like the blow of Donner’s hammer at the end of Wagner’s DAS RHEINGOLD. Then the storm seemed to move away, towards the eastern mountains and Ojai.

Flashes and deep distant rumblings continued in the night as I fell asleep. The storm slowly faded out as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

CINEMA: Somewhere in Yorkshire, England
Photo by/COPYRIGHT: Ross Care