Last Monday was the most amazing day. The morning started off with getting my munchkin off to pre-school. Afterward I packaged up the chicken I had been marinating in BBQ sauce for the last 24 hours, a bag of sweet potatoes, and several french rolls. Tom and I piled in the truck and headed to one of our favorite beaches for another beach-side BBQ. Our friends Kenny, Mario and Noel were unloading food when we arrived.
Something must be said of Mario and Noel, two brothers, who are chefs from Mexico. They are both work in very popular Mexican restaurants in the San Fransisco Bay area and they make FABULOUS lunch! Corn tortillas, marinated carne asada, grilled onion, grilled hot peppers, several kinds of chicken in different marinades, a large hunk of roast, BBQ roasted sweet potatoes, grilled oranges, first pick of the season apricots and peaches, fat hunks of bread and huge jugs of water and bottles of local beer from the Microbrewery.
Can we say Heaven??
You know what the worst part was? I was so busy eating that I forgot to take pictures of all the food. Yea, I know! How could I forget about the food!
You will not be disappointed, however. Keep reading...
So, this month has been life changing for us. I got a photography internship, Tom scored a possible career position making way more then he was not too long ago and doing something he adores. I am graduating...
yes, graduating in June. It really hasn't hit me yet. That's why there are no exclamation points. It hasn't hit me that I scored a great internship with a photographer, my husband scored a great job, I can probably move into a house this summer instead of an apartment and best of all I don't have to write anymore papers or take any more midterms! Okay maybe it is starting to hit me now.
Anyway, I was thinking about all of this on my walk on the beach. After gorging on food I decided to take some photos of the windsurfers that were playing in the ocean. It seemed like all the windsurfers started showing up on their lunch hour or something and I thought they would make exciting pictures.
The wind that day was WILD! I grew up in a very very windy place (ever heard of the Santa Anna winds in California?) and this wind was very strong. Relentlessly blowing 4o+ mph in the exposed areas, which is where I had to stand to get close enough to the windsurfers.
After taking a gazillion pictures I started looking for shells. This particular beach is near an abalone farm and abalone shells are my all time favorite. Looking for shells is a lot like a walking meditation for me. The wind and blowing sand (you can see it in the picture) really added to that feeling. It was cleansing all the impurities on the beach and within me and taking them away. I started to feel really thankful for everything I have been given this past month. The rest of the world is in turmoil and our own country is coming out of crisis, but we have really been blessed so far this year.
Then I spotted it, a full abalone shell! I rarely find whole ones! I literally jumped for joy. I glanced a few feet ahead of me and my heart skipped a beat. Could it be...
Half buried in the sand was another full abalone shell. Another few feet, more gorgeous shells. I was giddy stuffing my jeans and jacket with shells. Then that's when I saw it.
Lying in the sand near some low rocks, about 8 feet in front of me was a young elephant seal.
My first thought was "Is it Dead?". I quickly saw that he was breathing, but that his eyes were crusted from sand and he was pretty far from the current tide level. It had been high tide about 3 hours earlier so I think he had gotten stuck at some time around then. I tried to encourage him to move toward the water but he barely responded until I touched his back. He looked up at me with his mouth wide and full of baby teeth. He was so adorable and so pathetic all at once.
No one else was around on the beach and my friends were an exhausting hike to the other end of the beach so I was on my own for this one. I snapped a couple pictures for my blog, wrapped my camera in my jacket, stuffed it in a niche in the cliff-side and pulled up my pant legs. I dragged him back to the water, ignoring the blowing sand that was biting into my legs and my shirt which the wind seemed determined to rip off my body. He was heavy, between 70-90 lbs, but when the first wave washed over him he came to life and began pulling himself into the sea. I stood there watching him swim swiftly through the waves before disappearing.
I felt like I was given a gift. And it reaffirmed the life lesson that I have had to learn over and over. Even when it seems like everything is lost and their is nothing that will save you, someone might come along and push you back in the water. So never give up.