The cliffs

As natural beauty goes, there’s something different about the California coast. With cliffs, there’s mystery. Not everything is easily within sight — there are drop-offs and crags and holes and grooves. There’s a little danger. There are boulders that look like they’re about to tumble into the sea with the next light breeze but have been unmovable in that spot for decades. There’s a physicality to the beauty — the hardness and grit of the ground, the chill of the wind. There’s the envy of the gulls who are able to just fly straight over those cliffs and get the best view of everything. Part of my thing for the California coast is Hitchcock, I’ll admit — The Birds and others were filmed in coastal California towns, farther north than here in San Diego.

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Jen and I honeymooned in northern California — and three memories burned most deeply have to do with the coastline:

Driving west through dense forest for an hour or more from Santa Rosa to the coastline, until, in a split second, the trees ended and we found ourselves at the top of a cliff staring at the ocean, all while trying to stay in our lane on the Pacific Coast Highway.

A sunset in Mendocino, a hippie town atop cliffs in a nature preserve, with wild winds and a tormented sea that managed to splash us with foam from far down below.

A long hike through Redwood National Forest, through endless trees, then a tromp through waist-high seagrasses, then finally a walk on a pristine beach next to a sea lion.

Anyway, I’m here for a conference about blood cancers and yesterday I went to Sunset Cliffs, a park 20 minutes from downtown, and took panoramas every 5 minutes or so. Here they are:

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4:42 (official sunset time)
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2 thoughts on “The cliffs

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