Along for the ride:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Looking Up!

One of the truisms of horse riding is that you should look to where you want to be. If you look down at the ground then that is your destiny but, if you lift your eyes over the obstacle to your distant goals, then you will achieve them.

Our (My) original plan was to leave work behind us at noon on Friday and head south for our weekend of eagle-spotting. We were both thwarted and supported by the request from Artist Jane Rosen for an appointment to choose stones from our inventory to use in displaying her works.

We have worked with Jane Rosen before. She is a seriously creative artist and sculptor grown from New York Bohemian roots and transplanted to a coast side ranch where her love of nature has led her to produce a series of carved stone and now blown glass falcons, hawks and eagles. The energy and excitement of finding and appreciating the best colors, textures and shapes in our stones, as well as being welcome business, gave us pleasure and made the time fly by.

Knowing that we had a three hour drive to our destination, the last forty miles on very rural, unlit windy roads and we would be unable to get there before dark, I conceded that Hubby could have one more night in his own bed but that the alarm would ring at 5am, no excuses accepted. We had a smooth early morning trajectory and were welcomed by the staff and out on the lake by 10 am; supplied with loaner binoculars much stronger than my own and a map of the lake studded with silver stars , showing where most eagle sightings were to be expected.

For most of the morning, we were the only boat stirring the waters. The weather was perfect; mostly sunny and warm enough to laze around semi-snoozing between arduous bouts holding binoculars to our eyes. The eagles are first spotted as a dark outline, perched in the topmost branches of the abundant oak trees as they survey the open grassland for rodents and snakes. They are there to breed and reproduce before continuing their migratory path. I was satisfied just to have seen one and know from the locals that there were two dozen at last count. I didn't exert myself too much and counted 5 eagles myself. As the thermals rose a little towards the middle of the day two eagles took flight and circled before dropping out of sight beyond the crest of the hill.

Eagles are not the only wildlife of course. I bundled up and took my coffee outside to watch the sunrise Sunday morning with a mama deer and her two fawns. Mama came to eat bread from my hands and then all three grazed nearby for a while.
A storm had been predicted for later in the day and, when it was time to leave, we headed towards the coast to face the weather head on. The dormant vineyards between Paso Robles and Cambria were dissolved in white fog before we got too far and then we were hit by the pounding rain.
Up the coast road past San Simeon it was too wild to stop. The elephant seals were not only on the beaches but out into the ice plants, heads up  roaring to the sweeping rain. They are so huge that they were visible from the car as we drove by.
Hubby likes to drive, especially in challenging conditions. There were a few boulders down in the road and we saw multiple emergency vehicles involved in hauling some poor soul back up the cliff just before we stopped for lunch in Gorda. It was too foggy for a helicopter rescue, that's for sure.

As we neared Carmel the skies cleared and we pulled into Point Lobos to stretch our legs and look for sea otters. If you were a sea otter looking for a beautiful place to raise a family, you would be hard pressed to find a more perfect spot than Point Lobos' China cove. The water is always turquoise, even on a stormy, January day.

I hope the sea otter by the rocks, near the center of this picture will be visible. He's on his back, floating and noshing on something. Then he would dive to catch something else and resume his concentration on his tummy-top buffet, completely impervious to the roiling swells.
So, my weekend was condensed into a shorter span than planned but we fit way more in than we could have imagined by just going with what felt right at that moment. Finding our way back from "My" to "Our" for a while, clearing our heads and facing into whatever storms lie ahead.


  1. "Finding our way back from "My" to "Our" for a while, clearing our heads and facing into whatever storms lie ahead."

    This quote is the best part of the entire post! I take it you were able to connect which is a good thing. And how nice that a natural compromise occurred which led you to something better than you could have planned. :)

  2. Shattered, I realized that we are never alone together. Note to self to do this kind of thing more often.

  3. Wow, what amazing sculptures!

    Eagles, deer, seals, and otters, what more could anyone want? A vacation full of life and beauty with moments to cherish until the next trip.

    Glad you missed the boulders.

  4. I'm with Shattered on the quote. The pics are amazing. I'd love one of those blown glass hawks.

  5. those sculptures are just stunning... and how jealous am I at your retreat into a wild and soothing weekend...! Am going to read it again just to be transported again :-D

  6. Jean, California has a lot to offer and you don't have to go too far to find it. I'm sure other places do too but I think the contrasts are so enormous from dense population to natural habitat that it is full of surprises.

  7. Argent, thanks for your comment on the quote. I hope you visit the link to the rest of the sculptures.

  8. Watercats, I can't make it to your upcoming gig but if you come over here I'll show you around the non-touristy natural bits. The bird artist does horse stuff too, lovely drawings figurative and contemporary. Check out her site.

  9. You've packed more into a weekend than some people pack into a year. I am, quite frankly, envious.

  10. Steve, It balances out with the many weekends that we do nothing much. Thanks for joining in for the ride. I had difficulty signing up as one of your followers (outside of googleland, tut, tut!). I have you bookmarked and try not to miss too much. I greatly enjoy visiting Bloggertropolis.