We walked to the seawall in a light rain today. The beach has changed. Dunes and cliffs are scoured and eroded. Instead of soft sand, there were stretches of rocks and broken shells… intermingled, unfortunately, with bits of plastic trash, ubiquitous and dissonant. There have been big waves in recent days, and the seawalls have been put to the test. The section that we walk to is stepped in the back, which gives it the feeling of bleachers to me, but the concrete is so eroded that it almost appears to be melting. I am intrigued by these zones where human enterprise and natural forces meet in a temporary stand-off. Ultimately of course the seawall will succumb, but in the meantime it is gracefully transitioning from usefulness to beauty. It’s an art installation by the sea.
Etched into the concrete near an elaborately rusted iron pipe is the date: 1929. Imagine that? Men were out here building seawalls for the railroad in the very year the stock market crashed, marking the official start of the Great Depression. Meanwhile cattle would have been grazing in the hills behind them, and cowboys and ranch workers were tending to their chores, and I imagine there were quite a few scenes that don’t look that different today. You can’t say that about most places.
It felt good to be wandering around outdoors, even when cold air slid under my jacket and raindrops beaded my glasses. We are ten days into this new year, and I am determined to do better, whatever that means.