Sunday, July 08, 2007

Chicken Blog Goes to Morro Bay! + 26 Reasons*

First order of business:
Thank you to all of the people leaving comments when they visit Chickenblog. It's so wonderful to get feedback and to start conversations with visitors. I get to discover new blogs, and share deep thoughts with new friends, and I enjoy their talents and deep thoughts. I have always wanted to make connections with family and friends, for blogging to be a dialogue, an interaction.

All during the trip the children and I recently made, I wanted to write everything down. It seems driving, unpacking, pitching tents, cooking, trying to finish a doll quilt, and keeping track of 4 children was job enough for one person, so my journal never even left the bag. Every funny sight and witty remark is filed away, somewhere, in my brain, and so we may as well assume little of it will ever be revealed. Such a loss.

Fortunately, besides liking to write, I like to take pictures. No kidding, right? I took 1,500+ picture in 9 days. (Thank you God, and Geoff, for digital cameras.) Not all of them are keepers and I still have a lot to learn about my camera and photography in general. But the bliss I feel when I can click away and even hide my social awkwardness and anxieties behind my Big Black Camera... well, it's wonderful. I love coming home with all my images ready to download and share. I love capturing colors, fading light, beautiful expressions, funny moments, rare sights, nature, chaos, my children's faces... Taking pictures makes me very happy.

We camped for one night at Morro Strand State Beach. It occurs to me that I really love Morro Bay. I keep going back there and I always enjoy my stays. It's a small, quiet place. And we frequent the same quiet spots when we go. I even liked doing our laundry there. We enjoyed "Art in the Park," where we found a beautiful stained glass gift for someone's birthday... ( a surprise.) We found local blueberries at the Saturday farmer's market. The best? The Cotton Ball. I've been a fan for at least ten years, and now, in their new location, they are better than ever. So, if you sew, or if you wear or use fabric... you would love a stop at The Cotton Ball. If you don't love it, send me some fat quarters as punishment.

So, back to the beach and camping, and my trusty Big Black Camera. I took this picture, because it reminded me that parts of the beach were cut-off from foot traffic, to protect the nests of the snowy plover. The campsite kiosk had a posted photograph of a baby snowy plover, in it's vulnerable little ground nest in the dunes and vegetation. Even with a huge section of the beach off limits, we still found plenty of wide open beach to discover and enjoy. It is a beachcombers paradise, and a clammer's destination as well.

We had no intention of eating the clams we found, but we did enjoy collecting the empty, discarded shells. They were the smoothest shells I have ever touched. We also found sand dollars and key hole limpets. There were sea lions in the water and many different birds, including pelicans, egrets and...

...these! What is this bird? I've never seen them. I needed a bird field guide, a shell field guide, a marine mammal field guide and a California coastal tidal zone field guide. No matter. Sometimes we have to accept our ignorance and enjoy the experience for its own sake.

So, we made the long walk north to the tide-pools, blissfully unaware of the names of all the beautiful discoveries ahead of us. Like the turban topped shells, home to little crabs and sometimes snails. I called them periwinkles.

We peeked in pools, between rocks and across the sandstone shelfs that jut out in to the surf. We recognized the mussels, oysters, crabs and sea anemones.

Sea anemones are my favorite tide pool resident. They look strange and wonderful. They are otherworldly. They are so brave, sitting unprotected in a home that changes with every tide, they cannot runaway.

The big clawed crab, with it's hard shell? Not so brave. They scuttle and scurry and runaway all the time. Of course I would too, with seagulls and orange beaked feasters milling about, looking for lunch.

This was our first visit to the beach in Morro Bay... we usually visit the bay and estuary, the harbor and town. Now we know a new reason to return, again, to Morro Bay.

*26 Reasons I am Happy I Take Lots of Pictures


Luchador masks on Olvera Street.


Because Alex gave an interesting review of this book.


For a different perspective.


For a new twist on a tire swing.


You never know what you'll find in low light..


I see a whale.


Because I love Alex.


I love to remember how very good all of my children are.


Because I love Max.


Because I love William.


So we can show Geoff the Super Soquel Slide.


Because I love Maria.


Well, if I hand the camera over, I can remember that I love other things too, like swimming!


Photographs capture Alex's drawings, so we can share them.


And a photograph can help me question the wisdom of tackling a doll quilt on a road trip.


Because Dominic is adorable.


So I keep my own kitchen woes in perspective.


Because cousins Maria and Dominic are adorable together.


For Grandmas, and grand-babies.


For cousins and sisters and brothers. For family.


For uncle magic.


So we can recall the magic of camping and light.


And so we can relive the pleasure of listening to William read "The Lord of The Rings."


Because a photograph can evoke pleasurable memories.


It doesn't even have to be a good picture to bring back the warmth of the day, the sound of the children laughing, the cool spray of the sprinkler, Maria's daring charge, her brother's brave pursuit... then wet clothes drying in the sun and walking to the general store for ice cold drinks.


A snapshot, a moment in time. Maria bathing in the camp supply box, happy girl. Happy memories.


Anna Banana said...

The orange-beaked feaster is an oystercatcher! What beautiful photos and stories, you remember more than you think...

Natalie said...

Ah-ha! That makes perfect sense. They were pecking away at the oysters. Their coloring was amazing, and I couldn't believe I'd never seen them before. I wouldn't forget seeing a bird like these... or would I? I can't remember.

I went a little crazy and added just a few more pictures to the end of this post. Thank you for the praise.

nikkipolani said...

Fabulous fabulous photos, Natalie! I loved visiting Moro Bay - esp the little shack that serves fantastic halibut sandwiches!

Natalie said...

"Little shack?" "Fantastic sandwiches?" We need details! Maps, driving directions, URLs. I keep thinking I am going to print up my own travel guide for all (special) points between So Cal and Brookings, Oregon, so I never have to choose between Wal Mart and Dennys.

I am glad you like my photos; your praise means a lot, considering the beautiful photographs you post. Are those all your flowers?

kimberly sherrod said...

wow! I feel like I was there with you. What a wonderful post! I love camping and miss it very much. In NC it was perfect and you could hike and roam the mtn trails for hours. Thank you for taking such beautiful pictures. Thank you for blogging!!! I absolutely love your blog! I am so sorry I am taking forever on your apron- I have been totally immersed in a project for a magazine(!) and am mailing it tomorrow and I will be back on track again! Show us some more pictures- and your quilt looks great! I have never done a windows- it looks difficult! Have a nice evening! :) k

Tarie said...

I am glad and even touched that you guys had such a beautiful and meaningful road trip. (I need a vacation too!) Man, I love the beach. And man, do I need my own camera. Why don't the pictures I post ever look as good as yours? O_O P.S. You're so appreciative, Natalie. That's part of what makes you and your blog so great/uplifting. :)

tea time and roses said...

Hi Natalie...

The pictures are beautiful... You are a whiz with the camera girl!


Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

"First order of business:
Thank you to all of the people leaving comments when they visit Chickenblog. It's so wonderful to get feedback and to start conversations with visitors. I get to discover new blogs, and share deep thoughts with new friends, and I enjoy their talents and deep thoughts. I have always wanted to make connections with family and friends, for blogging to be a dialogue, an interaction"

I feel the exact same way! BTW, your pictures are lovely.

tania said...

Hi Natalie

Actually one of your photos led me to your Chicken Blog (really cool). Im also a mum of two girls and believe it or not but finally decided to start writing. After suppressing it for quite a while my husband inspired me to start writing. So you can see Im quite an amateur. If you wont mind i would like to use your shoot at the beach, its Beautiful! on myspace. Although couldn't get it working but ill keep trying