Last Thanksgiving break, we headed to California.
Again…I’m not sure.
A span of time appears on the horizon. Possibilities whisper.
Where have we never been? Where would be…interesting?
(What is “interesting?” Different people will answer that differently. For us – a 51-year old history and religion dork and two energetic little boys – the answer lies in a spot that will offer something for everyone. And…since we’re talking a relatively short break..one that will not involve too much stress or too many time zone shifts.)
Somehow…(is that not always my qualifier? “somehow…”) I settled on the Monterey Peninsula.
1) Never been there.
2) History & religion: check (missions and other things)
3) Energy-absorbing: check (redwood groves and oceans)
I’m a Southerner/Midwesterner. Or, to put it more succinctly, I’m an East-of-the-Mississippi person, but not all-the-way-to-the-East-Coast, what with our low taxes and calm lifestyle. When I hear folks whine and moan about the travails of California, I think, why not just move…why live there at all?
Then every couple of years, I go there…and I see…ah…okay. I get it. Niiiiice.
I was utterly charmed by the Monterey Peninsula. We stayed in Pacific Grove, in a cottage rental via VRBO.
(As time goes on…which means…as I get older…I become less and less apologetic about needing my space. A suite hotel like a Residence Inn or an apartment or cottage rental is where I need to be.)
So…more about various aspects of that trip in my next post. But for now, what I want to meditate on is the difference between the artificial and the natural.
You go to Monterey…where do you go? The Monterey Aquarium, of course. One of my older sons even directed me (from a distance) where to take the photograph, in honor of Star Trek IV. So we did.
And it was a great aquarium. When it comes to communing with imprisoned animals, aquariums ( -a?) are my prisons of choice. Fish seem to have such tiny brains and such a limited existence anyway, it seems far less cruel to enjoy watching a ray glide along the bottom of a tank than to commiserate with a macaque in a glass box.
I especially liked the connections made to the canning industry (the aquarium is, of course, in the space of an old cannery.)
And did you know a lot of those cannery workers came from Sicily?
So, yes, it was great. But here’s the point of this post.
We went to the Aquarium. Enjoyed it. But after that rainy afternoon? Never needed to go back. Been there, done that.
But…then.. every day that we we stayed in Pacific Grove, we headed to that rocky shore.
Sometimes to Asimolar State Park, other times to various other spots on the peninsula…we couldn’t stay away.
We climbed on the rocks, we studied the anenomes when they were closed up and sleeping in the dry air, we rejoiced when we found them just before the tide rolled out and we could see their gorgeous tentacles, we examined the shapes of the stony outcroppings, we searched for sea stars…the Aquarium was a done deal, but we could have spent all day and all night, every day outside on the shore, the cool breeze snapping us to attention, the chilly water keeping on us on our toes, and real life ever changing, never the same, always revealing something new.