The Glorious Central Coast

by cheri block

I blame my father Hugh for my inability to nap.

Keep your eyes open or you might miss something!

I am on a short two-day spring break from school, so why not take a drive with the dog, the camera, and big eyes?

As is my habit when I visit the Central Coast of California, I head up to the rookery to see the elephant seals. It’s March, so most of the big males have left for Alaska, vacating the beach so that this year’s progeny can…well…GROW. One male lounges in sedentary bliss.

Can you see him?

The action on the beach at Piedras Blancas rivals the energy in my junior high grammar class although upon closer inspection, I do see movement on the beach, a flipper flinging sand on an itch and a large nose nuzzling his sweetie.

My,  Roxanne looks content next to Cyrano. With hot sand, the bellow of the Pacific, and enough fat to insulate her from all pain, she dreams of the upcoming northern cruise home. But no need to think about packing up yet. Stay with the day.

I head south, a homing pigeon in search of coffee.

Keep your eyes open, Cheri, or you might miss something, I say to myself and then remember my father’s eyebrows and rather large nose, a nose that I miss seeing.

There on the right, I see a vulture perched on a sign and pull over for a shot.

Imagine my wonder when I discover two birds, both taking time off from their jobs: providing road- kill custodial service on Highway One.

Up on a hill, in contrast to the simplicity and natural coastal environment, sits the historic Hearst Castle, a lavish Gatsby house donated to the State of California by the Hearst Corporation years ago.

The Hearst family still owns much of the land in the area. Oh, to be a Hearst horse.

Being a horse kept to carry cowboys and girls as they herd the Hearst cattle is good.

But being a head of Hearst cattle is not so good. Hearst beef is delicious, free-range, hormone and drug free. Even though I do not eat beef often, I make a note to stop by the butcher and buy a flank steak for tonight.

One more stop before coffee.

I walk over ice plant, new poppies, and dirt to the edge where land relinquishes its hold on the sea and look down into the water’s deepness and mystery.

Keep your eyes open, Cheri. You might miss something, a seagull calls to me, connecting us in one transcendental life.

But then I notice that the gorge looks like Texas and the spell is broken.

When I arrive home to my getaway place with my steaming latte and healthy carrot muffin, my dog greets me. We go out into the misty air and I set my camera down.

But then I see my succulent plant, radiant after last week’s rain.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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16 Responses to The Glorious Central Coast

  1. zeusiswatching says:

    I miss California very much. Frequent trips back only make the desire to return for good even stronger. These pictures are beautiful, but they make me wish I was there again — instantly.

  2. Cheri says:

    Thanks! I enjoyed the day and taking pictures.
    Now, I am doing my homework by reading Montaigne and Descartes.

  3. Phil says:

    Wonderful pictures, particularly of Hearst’s Castle.

    To echo Zeus Watching, I, too, wish I was on the central California coast again, instantly.

    It’s been over three years. Must visit again soon.

  4. Never been to California. To me your pictures make it most appealing…but I guess, from what we see in the papers and on TV that there is much decaying infrastructure and I hear your school system is going down the drain due to severe underfinancing thanks to ultraconservative measures by the Terminator.
    I hope I’m wrong.

    • Cheri says:

      Lots of problems in California, no doubt. The press (The Fourth Estate) makes sure all problems are amplified, but if that will keep more people from moving here, great.

      The school system is a mess, but I don’t blame our governor in the least. Having served 26 years in this system 1972-98, I have my thoughts about the myriad factors which have contributed to the decline, least of which is Arnie. He’s trying to balance the budget. The schools system eats 40% of the pie, I believe.

      Many, many challenges here, the first of which is too many people on infrastructure.

      In education, a combination of the union and top-heavy mediocre administration contribute, as well as angry taxpayers who will not spend one more penny on education until they see a product…vicious circle.

      Until we pay teachers more money but also insist on accountability, nothing will change.

      Why yesterday, one of my SAT students came in and told me her math teacher had them watching March Madness in class. Then they all went outside and played Ultimate Frisbee.

  5. Cheri, These were outstanding pics. I looked at them several times.

    The horse shot reminds me of Ireland and I loved those buzzards. They were buzzards weren’t they? See, they were awake, too! I’ll bet your father taught you about fun if I had to guess.

    California has it all!

  6. kkuukka says:

    Cheri –
    I loved your response above; for me it is the contrary: I enjoy the day reading Montaigne and Descartes. Then I am off to work to take some pictures…

    Regards from snowy Finland.


  7. Cheri says:

    In your professional hands, the Central Coast would light up like a hot star.

    I will post on Montaigne and Descartes and an interesting book I am reading entitled Cosmopolis.

    Thanks, Kari

  8. andreaskluth says:

    I love the way you observe detail in the world around you. It would have been easy to speed past it in the search for caffeine.

    I must return to my old habit of slowing down to observe.

    And: “ouch”, on behalf of Texas, although I share the feeling.

  9. Peter G says:

    Keep your eyes closed or you might miss something … a dream, an insight, a sound …

  10. andreaskluth says:

    I’ll never take you advice again, Peter G. I just ran into my bathroom door….

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