Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lifeguard Station #1

Sometimes you just get lucky. I did.

Let me explain… Please, it’s not what you think!

I got lucky enough to see a lifeguard station come out of hibernation.

Having lived within 20 miles of the California coast all my life, I’ve been to the beach lots and lots of times. My wife and I like it best in the winter when the crowds are gone, but all the beauty remains.

As I mentioned in some earlier posts, we recently vacationed in Oceanside, California. One morning, we ventured out for a walk along the beach. We walked for a mile or so along the beachfront road until we were stopped: the sidewalk was blocked by a jacketed lifeguard.

What was she doing? She was blocking traffic!

But why? What was the occasion?

The first lifeguard station of the season was being put in position! Spring break was around the corner, and so were the beach-going crowds who needed protecting.

I didn’t know that lifeguard stations got to winter together. I guess they huddle together for warmth? Or perhaps they’re just social?

I had my camera, so I snapped off a series of shots capturing this serendipitous occasion.

(After they unloaded the tower, a couple of lifeguards removed the wooden beam from the tower’s metal undercarriage.)

All in all, it was a special moment. I got lucky!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So Cal "Groundhog Day"

For many of us in the sun-belt, spring has sprung. For others, like my friend Miss H in Montana, spring has been more elusive. She recently posted a piece called "A Groundhog Moment."

Through writers like her, I’ve become aware of how good we have it here in Southern California. The week of April 5th, I was vacationing with my wife in Oceanside, California. The weather was supposed to be “dismal:” low 60s with some showers. We persevered and only hit rain for 20 minutes in six days. We had a great time.

We were staying in a timeshare just a few blocks from the beach. The public beach close to the pier in Oceanside features two walkways, one on the beach, one up on the bluffs. Walking on the bluffs, I caught a glimpse of a Southern California Groundhog. Here s/he is:

The Southern California Groundhog is really a ground squirrel. These squirrels never really hibernate (because they don't have to), but when things warm up… say in early April… they like to scamper atop the canopy of natal plums to feast on the early ripening berries.

After getting their fill, they might spend some time gazing off at the surfers, who are enjoying glassy peaks of 3 to 5 foot surf in 53-degree water. (You can watch the surf real-time here.)

Besides the surfers, the squirrels enjoy watching the tourists and locals who frequent the pier seen in the distance and the park hidden below the bluffs.

The squirrel’s cousins live up and down the bluffs. Many of these squirrels have relocated from far away places, like Montana, where they are still watching the snow melt while they dream of days with more sunshine than gray. Days like this… in sunny Oceanside, California.

But to be fair, Oceanside does have its perils as indicated on the sign below found just two blocks inland.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vanishing Point -- Every picture has a Story...

Laura Jayne has created a writing community over at her blog: Pictures, Poetry and Prose. I don't respond to all the prompts, but sometimes I do. Many of the blogs I follow, I found after reading a good post on LJ's site.

I like people who think critically and creatively. When I read their writings, I begin to see the world as they see it. That's fun.

On Saturday Laura Jayne offered this picture and prompt:

Photo by Lorelei
Visit her photo gallary at -
and her blog at -
Suggested prompt...
Tell the story of or create a poem for this amazing photo.

Here was my offering:

Vanishing Point

"Hard to believe there's only five more weeks of high school," commented Maria, her breath adding to the early morning fog along the riverbank.

"I can't believe it either," uttered Frank as he hunkered along, trying to stay warm against the penetrating dampness.

"And what were we thinking, ending our stint with a zero-period class?"

"Obviously we weren't thinking very clearly."

Maria laughed. "I'm going to miss you Frank."

"Ditto girl. But this is what we've been working hard for: we're both heading off to different colleges in the fall."

"You're right. Goodbye sleepy river town. Goodbye factory job. Goodbye future-less friends."

"We're in the mist now, but the dawn's coming. This fog will disappear, and so will we."

"You're such a poet! I'm the artist. Let's see: Gray hues will yield to bright colors. Vanishing points will give way to new beginnings, new perspectives."

"Oh Maria, I'm going to miss our talks and our walks."

Maria smiled in the mist, "Me too."

They walked on together in the predawn fog, each lost in their own thoughts, each enjoying the white space that punctuated their friendship, both moving on... towards the vanishing point.