I made a beach video, just for you

What day is it? What time is it? We didn’t take a red eye, but it seemed like it. I’m an amazing lightweight when it comes to being thrown off by travel, so it is not a great surprise that, a mere 36 hours removed from being on the other side of the country, and five-and-a-half degrees of a lower latitude, I’m still trying to determine my identity, and which shoe is for which foot.

Lewis and Clark would be very, very disappointed in me.

Of course, they knew nothing of time zones. They might have known about coordinate cartography. Sailors of their day certainly did. But did that really figure into the slower pace in which those hardy souls crossed the nation?

And how was their cell service when they did that, anyway? Because some places on this trip, it was surprisingly spotty, even now.

There’s a joke to be made here. Something about how one of the members of the expedition had a great data plan. I’m not convinced people really know Toussaint Charbonneau well enough for the joke to really land.

Spring is finally showing up here on the inner coastal plain — where the heavy land and the green sands meet. You can see it on the ground and in the mulch and on the ends of the little sticks that have been protruding from the bushes and trees all winter long. We took two nice little walks, in a sunny chill, around the yard yesterday to see what had popped up while we were out of town.

The peach tree, for one, is making a lovely show.

We had so many peaches last year. Gave bags and bags of them away. Ate a lot. Froze a bunch more. I look at this beautiful little flower and think, We better start eating those we froze.

Peach smoothies for days. Maybe some peach shakes and peach ice cream, too.

But first we’re going to need about 15 more degrees, day and night, please.

I had class last night, of course. There’s nothing like the first evening class after spring break to give you a sense of who is invested in the class. Everyone, I hope. They have an exam next week. And so that is what we spent the evening discussing, how the exam would work, a few tips on what to look for, a review of key terms. A few exercises.

You know what’s embarrassing? When you forget a thing right when you’re trying to make the point, and someone asks about it. It doesn’t make for the most graceful deflect ever to say, “What do you think it means?” But there I was last night, doing exactly that.

It was one of those tip-of-my-tongue moments, sure, but it was going to take a while to pull it all together. And I’d done the exact same thing in this class in our last meeting. I can’t let on that this is happening all of the time, of course.

Anyway, the students have good material with which to prepare. I hope they all do well on their test.

I’m guessing, if I spread them out evenly, there are two, maybe three weeks of videos from our west coast trip to share. If there are that many, I decided I should hastily make a California banner. So I made a banner. May as well use it.

Most of these, I think, will exist without context. I shot a lot of them thinking, this will be a nice moment that readers can use as a quick, calm, break. I was fortunate and made it to the beach. Just in case you didn’t …


That’s late afternoon on Moonstone Beach, in Cambria. The seaside village has a population of 5,678, but that’s a number for the larger, sprawling area, surely. It came up as a lumber, ranching and mercury mining town. The ranching is, one supposes, not a coincidence. The Obispeño name transalted as “Place of the horses.” Today, it feels like it has been an artist village for a good long while. It’s a lovely place. And, as you can see, the beach is quite nice as well.

Not bad for a 60 second vacation, no?

And now, to catch up on things. Or was it, to get ahead of things?

Difficult to tell after such a trip, and the accompanying jet lag. Toussaint Charbonneau would be unimpressed.

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