Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Do you sense it?  It's as if Summer's great balloon were slowly exhaling its remaining bits of warm air, deflating in a colorful mess on the grass.

Or maybe it was just the Olympics.  Two bleary-eyed weeks of athletic feats and global camaraderie, elevating ordinary humans to the extraordinary!  We soared, and the Union Jack soared with us.  (Where would the world be without James Bond, Monty Python and The Beatles!)  And then -- it was over.  We were released, tumbling earthbound, reluctantly deposited back into our daily routines. Whoosh!  All deflated.

What now?

Pacific Coast in Big Sur, CA
We heard seals barking, but only saw
the birds flying in formation above the rocks

Fortunately, we found ourselves airborne for one last time, clambering back into the balloon basket. Summer is never complete without an excursion to the Pacific Coast.

If I've disappeared from the virtual world this summer -- Olympics aside -- it has been in an effort to live in the moment.

Big Sur fog over a bridge from the 1930s

Nothing else quite forces this practice so beautifully than the Pacific Coast Highway.  I challenge you not to stop every ten minutes just to enjoy being exactly where you are!  I get so caught up in the journey, the destination seems irrelevant.  (And please excuse the photos -- they don't do it justice.)

Morning fog in Big Sur
You can barely make out the house perched on the hill overlooking the Pacific
Must be a spectacular place to live!

This entire summer, I've devoted to savoring each experience, even setting aside the camera in favor of being part of the conversation.  I have no photos of any social gatherings this summer.  Instead, I have vivid memories of lively discussions.  Just like the character from "Midnight in Paris," whose life was at its most real among writers and artists long dead, though he could furnish no proof of his midnight meanderings.

Speaking of being in-the-moment, take these elephant seals: lounging on the beach for hours, occasionally swishing sand on their skins.  I wonder what they're thinking -- aside from how nice and cool the sand feels?

Elephant Seal Rookery
Two seal pups lounge surrounded by lazily protective adults
Piedras Blancas, CA

For this trip, we drove South through Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, through Piedras Blancas all the way to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle.  It is a breathtaking drive hugging the rocky coast, without much traffic except for a few construction lane closures.

One-lane stop lights for Highway construction
I never minded sitting through those stop lights,
looking out over the Ocean!
Big Sur, CA

As I looked out over the Pacific gliding in my imaginary hot air balloon, I just marveled at this vast ocean with nothing, from our coast, for over 5,000 miles.  Nothing, but a few scattered islands until Asia.

Looking out over the Pacific Ocean
on the way back, in Big Sur

Then I remembered how, exactly two years ago, I was in Asia when my mother joined the angels.  Perhaps she has been piloting my balloon all along, ensuring a soft landing.

Thoughts of my mother somehow close the loop from this post's header:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

                     --- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18


This post somehow wrote itself in honor of my mother.  So I dedicate it to her, my mother, who loved the Bard of Avon and shared his magic with me.


  1. this is some kind of magical post..the pictures and your words mesh together to form a haunting sense..may your mother reside in peace wherever she is..and may you continue to have many such beautiful days in the sun..

  2. Dear Songbird, I appreciate your very kind thoughts.

    And for others, I heard that my blog is having problems posting comments? Please send me an e-mail on to confirm if you are having issues too. I will check with Blogger on this. Thanks! -- J xxx

  3. I like the way you interpret your style through your clothes.

  4. This is such a beautiful post! Yes, I feel summer did creep up upon us. It seems to have swiftly occurred, and now almost time for autumn's breeze to greet us once more. What stunning images of the Pacific ... continue to enjoy your moments. I am doing just that as well. :) xo

  5. Lovely tribute to your mother. Sometimes a post takes on a life of its own. :)
    This scenery is breathtaking.
    Love the seal photo!
    Where I live, summer is unforgiving and it goes on...and on...

  6. Now, is a very important place to be. Thank you for the reminder. I have had a very busy summer and a rest now would be good. Beautiful pictures and pace to remember your Mum by. I am sure she looks after you still. Very moving post. Xxxx

  7. Such a beautiful coast and country! I'm finding it so much easier to live in the moment When the senses are engaged... and I very much agree - it is so important to lay your documenting devices to the side sometimes and just enjoy being with others.
    (Luckily no end in summer in sight here in Italy - just hot, hot, hot.)


  8. I love the pictures and the text. So beautiful!

  9. What a beautiful post, such an evocative description of the end of summer and such wonderful photos of the most amazing scenery. And also a wonderful and moving tribute to your mother xx

  10. So sad and beautiful and wistful. Lovely writing and luminous train of t'oug't. I'm so sorry to 'ear about your mom. Pictures were incredible, too. (My comp's broken, so t'is comment is going to be c'oppy, sorry! Can you guess w'ic' letter I've lost :)??)

    I saw your comment, and I'd love to 'elp you out. I've seen loads of calls for p'oto submissions in many mags. Next time I see a few, I'll send t'em your way. Meantime I'll try to t'ink of somet'ing specific. W'at's your regular email? Mine's

    I s'ould be getting a new computer t'is coming week and will leave a more intelligent comment t'en! MAC or PC? Care to weig' in? I'm t'inking of switc'ing to a MAC but a bit nervous...

  11. Brilliant post, my dear friend, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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