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.
|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.