Saturday, November 24, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

One of my favorite things to do, especially early in the morning, is to walk the beach from my neighborhood cluster of homes south towards Punta Nopolo, the point of rock that lends it’s name to the district surrounding Loreto Bay.  Unfortunately, one of the side effects of being gainfully employed at my job selling Real Estate here in this community, is that routine and schedules can preclude some of the simple pleasures of living here – so one early morning this week I set out for one of the first sunrise beach walks that I have taken this season.

My motivation this morning was awakening to a clear sky, after several days of unusual overcast – strange to realize how quickly we can take the almost consistently perfect weather here for granted, when it takes a cloudy day to realize what “normal” is really like.  Because overnight and early mornings have cooled off significantly from even a few weeks ago, I pulled on a long sleeved fleece and pants, grabbed my hat and camera and headed out to greet the dawn.

About 250 feet from my front door, past six or seven homes and I am on the sea grass berm that separates the high water line from the eastern edge of the development and my eye is automatically drawn south, to my right, where the sky is beginning to blaze behind Punta Nopolo, an iconic feature of this place that I never tire of photographing every chance I get – which may explain why I chose that image as the title page of this Blog.

As we approach the winter solstice in about a month, the sun now rises at close to it’s southerly extent from behind the rocky outcrop that gives meaning to the historic local description “where the Mountains come to swim”.  Moving into the New Year, sunrise will gradually move north around the horizon and be seen coming from behind the distant Ilsa Carmen, the huge Island that frames the ocean from due east and as far south as we can see from here.

On this morning (and every dawn is unique, albeit in subtle ways) it is approaching a high tide, which while it only fluctuates about a foot, the low tide can stretch the beach 30 to 50 feet wide, due to the very gradual shelf of our bay.  This morning the high water line is marked with a considerable accumulation of flotsam and jetsam that has been washed back ashore following the runoff from Hurricane Paul last month. 

I recall that I had seen, on my first trip to the beach following that storm, numerous stacks of these debris that had been tidied into piles along the beach, but viewing it now, it is apparent that either nothing had been done to remove the piles, and they had once again distributed themselves due to wave action, or else this was additional material that had washed up since the initial onslaught.  But regardless, I took some comfort in the fact the there was very little “man made” litter mixed into the mainly palm husks, uprooted shrubbery, and the occasional palm trunk that had been washed down the arroyos from somewhere up in the Mountains to our west.

Here in Loreto Bay, ours is a “natural” beach, more fine gravel than sand composition in most places and, other than the 100 yards or so in front of the INN, not normally groomed, which improves the beachcombing prospects, with a constantly changing variety of shells and other small treasures from the sea being deposited here for the finding. 

On this morning, I only meet a few fellow beach walkers, a man and his boisterous medium sized dog off leash, later followed by two women escorting on leash their two diminutive, but no less self-possessed specimens, one a white terrier type and a black exotic of some description I am not familiar with.  These encounters remind me once again, that the considerable and privileged dog community here is probably among the most contented of creatures to call Loreto Bay home.  Not to say that their owners do not also enjoy being here – but there are few happier sights than a dog on the beach at sunrise!            

As the sun continues to rise, I can all of a sudden feel the warmth of the day to come in the air – as I reach the southern end of my trek and turn to retrace my footsteps in the soft wet beach.  When my eyes lift from the creamy pulse of the surf, and I see the gilded faces of the beachfront homes stretching around the gentle crescent of Loreto Bay, I flash back to the same view from several years back. 

Not so long ago now, but the changes are dramatic – in just a couple of years the beachfront row of custom homes has progressed from mainly half-finished structures clad in raw concrete and plaster, separated by more undeveloped lots than completed homes.  Now, this morning, the majority of these impressive buildings have been completed into living homes, each unique and distinct in their features, but unified by consistent design guidelines and part of our planned community.

As I wander back to my own familiar cluster that I have called home now for over 6 years, I once again am torn between these two perspectives – how much has happened and how far we have come, in what seems to be both the eternity of my time here and the fleetingly short history since it all began with chalk lines on virgin sand less than 10 years ago.

Perhaps it is to do with the time – the beginning another day, like so many countless others . . . and yet unique like each shell on the beach, but this is a time I find it hard not to be philosophical, to think thoughts that are usually crowded out by the consuming clutter of the everyday.  Perhaps that is what draws me back to the beach at sunrise – when I need to look inside myself, as well as at the awesome display of another sunrise, another blessing of “Living Loreto”!