Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rainy Day

I awoke to the sound of rain playing music on the stone driveway outside my window. The ambient dripping a soothing alarm clock. The others in the room were still sleeping so I headed out into the living room, making my self a cup of tea and returning to the indent in the couch I had started working on the evening before. I had planned on camping out once again, but the weather called for persistent and heavy rain for the rest of the day, so I abandoned that idea and looked around for another hostel. 

While driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, I saw two hostels that were lighthouses, I knew at least one of these options was not terribly far away, and staying in a lighthouse overlooking the ocean on a stormy night seemed like a perfect way to spend the evening. I took my time getting ready in the morning, not terribly eager to venture out into the wet weather. When I finally got my stuff packed and headed out, I found my car surrounded by a gang of turkeys, who seemed rather upset by my unexpected appearance. The turkeys scattered as I packed up my car and started the engine, running frantically, erratically in all directions, a mass chaos of gobbling. 

It was raining lightly as I drove through San Francisco, rejoining Route 1 as I crossed the Golden Gate and following it for the remainder of the short drive. After I finally was released from the stop and go traffic of The City I was once again greater by views of waves crashing violently against the shore, at times spraying water as high as the road itself, a spectacular display. I drove on fighting betokening watching the amazing view and the road, trying desperately not to careen into on coming traffic. 

Soon I found myself entering the cozy beach side community of Pacifica, the atmosphere laid back and nonchalant, a stark contrast to the fast paced city life just a couple minutes up the road. I buzzed through town, then a long tunnel, emerging on the other side where houses climbed the hillsides, as the massive waves continued to pound the shore. I pulled into the parking lot and headed inside to book a bed. The rain was still just a drizzle as I made my way down the long entrance, past the lighthouse and into the main office. I booked a bed but wouldn't be able to get to my bed until later, the kid at the counter suggesting I go check out the tide pools, as low tide was about an hour away. 

I took his suggestion heading down to the beach, I had come at the right time, the low tide for the next couple of days was the lowest of the month, meaning far more of the rocky outcrops, where the aquatic creatures reside, would be accessible. As soon as I reached the pools the rain started coming down harder, my rain coat doing all it could to whisk away the on slot of water pouring down from the heavens. The pools were alive with activity, fluorescent colorful sea anemones sat showing off their brilliant colors all around, hermit crabs scuttled about as small fish darted back and forth.  

I don’t know why exactly the plant and animal life in tidal pools is so vibrant but the display was hypnotic. I found myself on multiple occasions staring at a motionless anemone just transfixed by the stunning colors and patterns. I walked further and further from shore, venturing as far as the retreating water would let me. The pools tamed with tiny lives, I stepped carefully trying not to step on any of the thousands of snails and mussels that clung to the rocks. I squared and watched as a large hermit crab stole the shell from a smaller hermit crab, a theft that seemed more bullying than necessary. a colony of seagulls floated in the protected shallows, looking equally as perturb as I by the ceaseless rain.  Out on the more distant shoal a pod of adult seals laid motionless while their pups flopped around excitedly. 

The rain was unrelenting as I explored the shallow pools, I had seen plenty of anemones, to the point where I was jaded to them, searching desperately for a starfish, all of whom seem to have vacated the area. I wandered hopefully, searching in the pouring rain to spot one of the illusive creatures. Nothing, I found no star fish, the rain was somehow coming down further now, my jacket failing to counter the attack, I was getting wet now, soaked. I looked up to discover in my aimless wandering I had walked half a mile down the beach. I walked purposefully back towards the hostel the rain seeping through my inundated jacket. As I neared the hostel I looked back at the exposed intertidal zone, vowing to return the next day to find some starfish, hoping it would be a drier affair. 

I hid in the hostel the rest of the day, the rain refusing to let me wander outside, I stared out the window watching the tide roll in, covering the rocky shores, the waves seemingly growing bigger. The hostel was different than most hostels, small and much more like a house than a dormitory, I had the room to myself as the only other guests were a female couple, who obviously occupied the female dorm. I made myself dinner and sat by the fire, the ambient noise of the ocean fusing with the crackling of the fire, creating a serene euphony.

A storm came ashore in the late evening, lighting illuminating the cloudy air, it wasn’t an epic storm by any means, the lack of thunder was strikingly eerie. I headed off to bed, reading as I laid listening to the ocean crashing below me, the soothe sounds bribing me to sleep, natures lullaby. The blinking of the lighthouse glowed in the room, it’s steady pattern somehow calming as I drifted off to sleep in perfect sea side bliss. 

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