Tag Archives: beach

Change in View: #writeout

I walked out of school with the sun shining brightly on my shoulders.  I peeled my lightweight jacket off before getting into the car to head down the hill toward the beach for my after school walk.

In the less than two miles from school to the beach, the sun dimmed, shuttered by a thick veil of fog.  Palm trees became shadowy pillars as I steered toward the beach parking lot. As I walked down the long steep ramp to the sandy beach, it was like walking into another world. Colors were swallowed by the damp blanket, the view disappeared,  I could see only 20 or 30 yards in front of me.

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My mind filled with stories, the stuff of Halloween and horror movies.  What was around the corner? What evil might that shadowy figure in front of me bring? What about the sea itself, was the tide actually as low as I expected?

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Luckily, my feet know this beach.  They followed the path worn by my frequent walks, recognizing the curve of the beach, the squish of the sand under my soles.  Familiar birds whistled hello, giant kelp caressed my toes and a huge piece of bull kelp appeared from the shadows.

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As I neared the end of my walk, a crowd of children appeared from the mist.  And with them, the bubble man, the pied piper of the beach, casting a spell with his magic wand.  The thick mist didn’t dampen their spirits, instead the dampness of the air helped them catch bubbles–holding them in their hands and allowing them to slip into the bubble tunnels the bubble man created.

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Stories continue to swirl, wrapping me in their damp, shadowy chapters.  My imagination is already hard at work, making connections, creating movies in my mind.  I can only hope they don’t become the stuff of nightmares as I drift off to sleep.

 

 

 

Considering the Clouds: A Feldgang

It wouldn’t be summer without taking some time to participate in a CLMOOC invitation.  And who could resist an opportunity to engage in a feldgang?  (Yeah, it’s not an everyday term for me either, as I understand it, it’s about paying attention to something you might not otherwise notice.)

Yesterday was the end of an intensive 14-day period of work for me.  When Geoff got home from work, we headed out for a quick dinner and what I hoped would be a view of the sunset at the beach…a mini celebration.  But it was evident, from quite a distance, that a huge wall of clouds would prevent the sunset I was hoping for.

But…the wall was extraordinary.  It was thick and defined.  Not that ordinary gray blanket that obscures the sun that we so often associate with the marine layer in these parts.  The cloud wall did impact the sun and the light…and created a game of peek-a-boo with the sun and the sentinel palm tree that stands guard over my favorite beach.

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The surf was more cooperative than the sky.  Surfers were enjoying the larger than usual waves, showing off their expertise as they whipped and glided and ducked through the barrels formed by the curve of water.  As I snapped photos of the surfers in action, I also noticed the way the clouds and sun above them filtered the light, and depending on the angle changed the color of the water.  With the sun over my shoulder, blues and turquoises peeked through.

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With the sun in my face, sepia tones appeared.  The creamy white of the churning waves creating texture that my eyes could feel.

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Knowing that as the sun dipped lower, the clouds would block the sun’s light, we decided to stay long enough for the sun to be covered by the clouds…but not until official sunset.  I watched and waited and the sun lingered longer than expected.  Time enough to take some more shots of that favorite palm tree.  Even the pelican was enjoying the sky.

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While I didn’t get my celebratory sunset, I did get a chance to study the wall of clouds and notice all the ways it interacted with the sea, sky, palm tree, and sun.

What will choose to explore for your feldgang?

No Snow Day: NPM 2019 Day 19

In between conference calls and other work today, I squeezed in a beach walk.  My attention was immediately drawn to the kids using their boogie boards as sleds, sliding down the sand hill near the lifeguard tower.  Whenever I see that, my mind goes to a line in a poem (that may be mis-remembered, I can’t find it online) that goes something like…”Where I live it doesn’t snow.”

Today I went looking for some paint chip colors to help me with my poem.  No random draw today, I searched for words that I thought might be interesting…and then added one I came up with on my own: persistent gray.

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No Snow Day

Conjuring the blank canvas

of snowy banks

would-be sledders

venture to cliff’s edge

riding

boogie boards

down the rabbit hole

of slippery sand

in this place where

no snow falls

and persistent gray

doesn’t result

in a snow day

©Douillard

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Water Blues: NPM 2019 Day 12

How do you maximize your vacation on the day you fly out? Head to beach at the crack of dawn! The beauty of Hawaii is that the morning is warm and the beach pretty empty—perfect for that last dip in the cool blues of the sea.

And then 5 hours in the air gives quiet time for composing poetry. I’m not sure I quite got to any particular point…but maybe that is what poetry is all about. I followed the words, letting them lead me.

Day 12:

Water Blues

In the crack before dawn

morning rises fresh and new

dark becoming blue that

beckons us outdoors.

Breezes whisper nature’s secrets

in our ears

telling stories of

blow holes

and green shelled turtles

that give us reason to smile

and care.

Raindrops caress our faces

smoothing out the creases

of worry

carrying them deep

into the sea.

Stepping into the not-quite-warm

waters

where blue cools

concerns that churn

under the surface

splashing up waves

of frothy salty foam, intricate as lace.

Our eyes follow the lacy white

into a spectrum of blues:

the palest dance

along the surface

pirouetting into fine mist

keeping the air soft and moist

the darkest dive

deep

swirling with all the waters

through the ages.

Stories rise up

taking us on travels

through time and space

that skip and play like children

delighting in the unexpected

and wondrous.

Variations of blue

like a symphony

of sound and color

sing out

painting rhythms

on worry

sculpting melody

into hope

listen with all your senses

and you’ll hear the possibilities

as the sea performs

the water blues.

A Noticing Day: SOLC 2019 Day 30

With reports cards written and parent conferences ahead of me, today was low-key. Sandwiched between errands, lunch out, and a chiropractic appointment, we fit in a noticing walk on the beach.

Today is part of a warming trend in our parts, sunny and clear, breezy with temperatures in the low 70s.  Beach goers were out in full force, taking advantage of a beautiful spring weekend.  (This has definitely been an in like a lion, out like a lamb March!)

Some days at the beach I have no idea what I’ll take a photo of.  I have tons of beach photos from all seasons, so I’m always alert to something new or unusual in some way.  We walked a different beach today, one further north than my usual Moonlight Beach, just because it was on our way from one errand to another.  As I walked my eyes were drawn to the maze of stairways from multimillion dollar homes on the cliffs zigzagging their way down the steep bluffs.  I took several shots, trying to capture that effect in my photo. (There are more–I was wishing to get an even wider view through my lens!)

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As I pressed the shutter, my husband called out to me.  “Do you see that?  Right there on the ladder…see the osprey?”  I didn’t at first (even though I had just photographed that very ladder!), my husband had to direct my gaze to see the bird in the distance.  We carefully moved closer, picking our way across the stones in our bare feet.  We photographed and watched, mesmerized by this majestic bird of prey.  After a few minutes of close observation, we walked back closer to the water’s edge.  As we took a last look over our shoulder, we saw it flying away in the other direction.  I am so glad my husband saw what I hadn’t noticed!

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We continued our walk, and I found my eyes alternating between watching the brilliant cobalt blue sky where sea birds soared and searching the sand and rocks for sea glass. Looking up, I saw a variety of gulls and terns, ravens, and even an egret in flight.  And always a favorite, pelican squadrons made their runs up and down the coast.

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As we headed back the car I couldn’t resist a close look at the wildflowers growing along the beach path.  I noticed the bees busily buried in the centers of these native yellow beauties.

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While I ended up spending the majority of my day out and about, it was a day for relaxing and noticing rather than hurrying and worrying.  I watched and wondered, taking time to breathe deeply and enjoy time out with my love on this perfect spring day.  I can feel my energy levels charging–just what I’ll need for the week of parent conferences that are just around the corner!

Oops! SOLC 2019 Day 22

Ah!  The briny air filled my lungs as the gentle spring sunshine warmed my back.  There is nothing better than a walk on the beach at the end of the work day.

I wondered at the beach goers in bathing suits more than waist deep in the still cold Pacific ocean.  (Even in summer, 72 degrees is warm water–refreshing when temps are in the 80s.  Today’s water temperature of 60 degrees is hardly balmy.)  Low 60s do not constitute bathing suit weather in my opinion.  I was thinking about how San Diego is really not a spring break destination.  We’re often mistaken for a tropical location, with warm weather year round.  In reality, we are a temperate climate.  It’s seldom too hot here, and we don’t even know snow unless you drive high into the local mountains.  But March is predictably sweatshirt weather–and I almost always wear shoes on the beach at this time of year because of all the rocks.

I digress.  I walked quickly, trying to have this clear-my-head walk count as some kind of exercise in a week that left too little time to move my body.  I found myself on the uncomfortable slope of rocks thrown high by the surf as I climbed to avoid the waterline, slipping and sliding on the uneven piles.

I’m never bored along the coast, there is always something to see.  Today I watched surfers, dressed in their black wetsuits, as they headed out into the glistening sea.  There is seldom a day without surfers around here, even when the weather and waves are less than ideal.

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Looking up I noticed a modern day pterodactyl, our native pelican, gliding on the currents.

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At my turn around point, I got bold, walking further out away from the rocks.  Walking on the sand just felt so much better than slip sliding on the rocks.  I knew I was taking a calculated risk–walking in my jeans and relatively new tennies so close to the water.  I know all about rogue waves and watched as I was walking.  About halfway back to my car, I could see it coming.  Just as I reached the point of no return, I saw the wave rushing toward me.  I spied a rock jutting up higher than the sand and jumped on it.  Seconds later I felt the cool salty water rush over my feet, my ankles, wicking up my pant legs.  With nowhere to go, I stood, waiting for the water to recede.

My walk the rest of the way was of the squelchy variety as my wet socks and wet shoes squished with each step.  I was less careful at that point.  I was already wet, so I took the easier, if wetter, pathways on my way back to the car.  I had to laugh at myself, maybe I should have just taken my shoes off and walked barefoot for the entire walk.  If I were more like those bathing suit wearing beach goers, I wouldn’t be squelching my way back to my car!

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But neither wet pant legs or squishy shoes could take away my pleasure and delight in my beach walk.  There is something healing and rejuvenating about a walk on the beach!

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Now back home, my shoes have been rinsed, the insoles removed and are sitting on the spare bathroom counter drying.  I wonder how long til they’re dry enough to wear on my next beach walk?

 

 

Things I Love: SOLC 2019 Day 7

Thursdays are my SDAWP day.  That means that I spend the day at UCSD doing my work as the director of the San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP).  Inspired by Margaret Simon‘s list of things she loves in her slice the other day, I’ve been thinking about things I love about my SDAWP work.

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I love being on campus at UCSD.  I’ve taken so many photos of the library–it’s unusual architecture means it always makes an interesting picture.  This one was from this morning–I wanted to capture the billowing clouds to the east.  As I neared the library, I could hear music.  If you look closely you’ll see the people singing.  The acoustics of the cement building made their voices soar, those few people sounded like a concert…before 8am this morning.

I love the many opportunities I have to talk with educators across disciplines, across educational roles, across levels.  Rich conversations about access and equity, what constitutes success and how to bridge the instructional gaps that happen along the K-college pipeline for some students.

I have a love/hate relationship with writing grants.  I love imagining the possibilities and creating structures to support teachers and students.  I hate deadlines and the institutional hoops you have to leap through just to submit–and that doesn’t even ensure the grant will be awarded.  I’m deeply in the writing process of a grant right now…and probably should be writing that right now instead of blogging.  Wish me luck!

I love working with and supporting teachers.  I especially love talking educational pedagogy, best practices, and all things writing.  I love reading the latest research and thinking about both tried and true approaches and new ideas that I haven’t yet tested for myself.

I love that my doctorate didn’t pull me out of the classroom.  With my dual (or more) roles, I get to retain my expertise and credibility as a classroom teacher and stretch beyond my classroom to work county-wide, state-wide and nationally.  There is never a dull moment with my multiple hats balanced on my head.

And I love that on my way home I can stop off at Torrey Pines Reserve for a walk on the beach.  The cliffs at Torrey Pines are spectacular!  Today I chatted with a photographer whose camera lens was the size of a small child.  He was watching a mating pair of peregrine falcons, waiting for a chance at a perfect photo.  He patiently waited and watched, chatting with beach walkers as they passed.  I’m grateful to have gotten a chance to see the falcon–although my camera lens wasn’t able to capture it.  The view below is of a raven.  A pair of them were swooping and diving…and I’m sure I saw them carrying twigs or other nest building materials in their beaks.

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The tide was low today so I was able to walk to the southern end and catch a glimpse of tons of hang gliders in the distance at the Torrey Pines Glider Port.

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Don’t think for a second that this is a comprehensive list of things I love about directing the SDAWP…I’m sure I could go on and on and on!  I do love my work.  What would you include in a list of things you love today?