I pulled off the highway onto a thin road covered by the shade of cypress and maples. Redwoods and firs towered above as I snaked down the road, adding to my excitement as I waved to any car that passed by. I am always excited when people wave back, showing a sign of connection even though we have no relevance to each other. I love it because it reminds me that no matter what, we are all in some way a part of the same community. It also tends to be a sign that I will have an amazing day. I was quite confident that that would be the case as I was on my way to Pfeiffer Beach and having a bad day at the ocean is quite hard to do.
Having lived in Southern California for a decade, I have driven through Big Sur many times. I have never stopped though, always simply enjoying the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. It really is one of the better drives in the country and I recommend everyone trying to experience it at least once. Today though, I was going to get out and explore. I had been told that Pfeiffer was one of the best and had set out with two of my good friends to se if it was all that it was said to be.
After a couple miles of those thin windy roads, we finally reached the beach and then the adventure began. Immediately I was greeted by flocks of gulls and reflective tide pools. I immediately started clicking away while watching small groups of socially distanced people laugh in the sand. Everyone’s worries seemed as if they were completely forgotten, lost far away along with cell service. This was a true get away from the world and everyone was eager to to enjoy it as much as they could.
I took a moment to sit down and simply take it all in, watch the waves crash against the rocks, the gulls fly off into the distance. The sound filling my ears was so peaceful, I wanted to let myself close my eyes and fall into it. It had been a while since I had seen the ocean, having spent most of the past months away from the coast and until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I missed it. It is always comical to me when I think about how easily distracted we are as people, “out of sight/out of mind” seems to be an eternal truth that we consistently fall into.
Walking down the beach, I came across a magnificent rock known as “Keyhole Arch”. A hole in the middle of it welcomes crashing waves that explode into beautiful sprays that I could watch for hours. In fact, this hole is perfectly placed where on Dec 21st, the sun rises and sets directly in the hole. I’m sure that this is a magnificent sight complete with a beach full of photographers trying to catch it. As much as I would like to be a part of this experience, I have a hard time dealing with crowds in those situations, each photographer being territorial and obsessive about their shots. I’ll take this experience over that any day.
I soon found myself in front of a tide pool, peering inside to see what wonders I could find. To my heart’s delight, it was filled with sea anemones and crabs, starfish and snails, life abundant. Suddenly, it was as if I had entered a new world and I had to sit and contemplate how different ecosystems can change so quickly and things as small (or as massive depending on your view) as the pull of moon against the earth can fill holes in the ground with water making life abundant, but also stuck in that small area. over the next few days when the tide rises, the life will be given the opportunity to escape and new life will be brought in. This process repeats over and over. The complexity of this always amazes and humbles me.
I eventually had to leave, as I apparently was taking too long at the tide pool. A wedding party was waiting to get the spot and take pictures. while I felt a bit perturbed by the fact that they asked me to move from the public area so they could capitalize on it for private purposes, I swallowed my pride and wished them well. I had an entire beach to photograph and was sure more wonders could be found. And I was right! The next thing I knew, a four legged friend was standing in front of me with a ball in its mouth, begging me to throw it and I sat there for the next bit enjoying the simplicity of things. The world is such a complex place that I moments like this should be cherished.
Love seemed to be present throughout the rest of the beach as well, as I snapped shots of my friends together. It was hard not to fall into their joy and I felt humbled being able to share these moments with them. Even though I was hanging as the third wheel, I felt lucky to have that opportunity, to have the ability to feel their story through osmosis. I guess that sometimes there is value in being around people.
As we drove away, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for the day. I often have to remind myself that the simple things that I have been writing about are not present in our daily lives. Most peoples days are filled with stress and anxiety and having a way to break free from those is a privilege that even if accessible, is not realistic for many to take. Every day, I am out finding these joys and I am consistently humbled.
Never lose that feeling. I told myself. Never lose it and always share it as much as possible as osmosis is a powerful thing.
Closest Supercharger Big Sur 1 mi
48123 Coast Ridge Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920
Big Sur, CA 93920