Last year, someone planted a few scrawny geraniums, struggling sticks stuck straight into the dirt (you can't call it soil) on the dusty path that leads to the beach here in Paradise Cove. People would water the poor things, lug down gallons in their golf carts and pour it on, and because the ground was packed so hard, the water would run right off, spread everywhere except, or so it looked, near the roots of the plants.
It may look like a photo of a branch on a roof but don't be fooled. That, my friends, is the highway to Hell.
A family of raccoons has moved in somewhere nearby (OK, I'll be honest, I'm pretty sure they're under the house) and they're holding a series of cocktail parties and get-acquainted mixers for the rest of the raccoons here in Paradise Cove.
Last night, no fewer the a hundred of them moved the festivities, a rave, I think, to the roof. Climbed right up that tree, hired a live band and danced, with lots of thumping and squealing and galloping about. Maisie the Teacup Lab, needless to say, was beside herself. She came thisclose to climbing the tree to break up the party.
At what time, you ask? At 3 a.m., right after she barked like a maniac in her disturbingly low voice, rousted me out of a warm bed and yelled at me until I climbed up on the roof in my pajamas and bare feet and then realized just how dumb that was as a herd of drunken raccoons thundered past. But it did no good. They came again and then again, all night long, and we got no sleep. All that was left this morning were some beer cans, a few tiny glow sticks, and a couple of hits of X.
They're back, those goofy and lovely birds, all pure white feathers and big yellow feet. They nested here last year (and for years before that) and, thank goodness, they're here again. Lots of flights in and out of the tree that throws shade on the Cross Creek parking lot, some quacky conversations, a spiky, spindly nest and, soon, eggs and then, hatchlings. Can't wait!
Yeah, because that would be the stupid part.
(SoCal twister here.)
Swims like a duck, too. This is one of three males who've taken to loitering in this little pond created by the creek that runs to the sea. Girl ducks (birders everywhere - I hear you laughing) have done a few fly-overs, but either the time's not right or the pickings are slim, because so far, they keep right on going.
It's been a while, so here's a sunrise. Well, not quite the sunrise, just the glow of the sun trapped in the cloud bank that has Santa Monica socked in. It was utterly quiet this morning, some trick of the slight breeze carried the rumble of PCH elsewhere.
I've been staring at a computer for most of the day for three months now and the non-pixilated shapes and colors of the real world bring vivid relief.
Just kidding. I think.
If, over this extraordinarily hot April weekend, you had the misfortune to head for the Malibu beach, here's what you found - extraordinarily bad traffic. Thanks to a (slow-moving) road project to stabilize a hillside right here, PCH is down to one lane just south of Latigo Canyon. The result? A line of traffic snaking all the way back to Pepperdine University. It lasted from early morning to early evening, thousands of cars stretching for miles. Not pretty.
Finally, after watching the bloom move from Long Beach to Redondo Beach and even to Venice, I see the wisteria that hang over my back garden fence have flowered. They're right next to those nasturtiums that returned this year, and the contrast of colors against the bleached-out wooden fence is so lovely, it's hard to walk away.
Can you see the writing on the sign? It says "Millionaire Mutt".
Oh yeah, there's definitely going to be a field trip. (And maybe even a tiara for Maisie.)
There's nothing flimsy about the '49 Plymouth - it's post-war technology, solid as a tank. The seats are comfy, the steering wheel's wide, and the steel doors shut with a lovely, bass thunk. Lately, in this slow, chill spring, it's Evinrude's favorite place.
He follows the sun - the roof at mid-morning, the hood (where it's cooler) in mid-afternoon, then topside again as evening falls. All around, in the morning glory vines, the jacaranda, the palm and banana trees next door, birds are busy.
It's cold here in Malibu (I hear laughter echoing off icicles north and east of here) and it's gray. Clear morning skies cloud over and that marine layer rolls in, our version of weather.
So when the nasturtiums in my side yard popped open, it was a revelation. Orange - I remember the warm, sweet, resonant chime of orange. And I crave it so much I stuck my camera down this flower's throat and took about a million pictures.
She's always in the lead, little Maisie. She's smaller than Jake so she's faster and more nimble. But other than when she's chasing the ball, a moment in time I'm convinced she thinks she's a wolf running down some helpless prey (though this particular wolf has short tiny legs, big puppy eyes and has developed a bit of a belly) she makes sure she never gets too far ahead.
It's like she's got some calibrated graph in her head, she's X, I'm Y and Jake is the axis on which Maisie sets us. She nudges and herds him and, when she can't stand for one more minute that he's NOT OBEYING, she just grabs him.
So here, though you maybe can't tell, she's keeping a precise distance. Jake never gets too far behind and, most important to Maisie, he's positioned so she can whirl around and clamp her tiny jaws around his neck at a moment's notice.