This little Pacific sand crab, the creature all those long-billed birds are digging for, made a perfect circle as she burrowed her way through a cycle of low tide.
And this site is a regular Rosetta stone for reading the various dots and divots left on the beach by our tiny marine cousins.
Woke craving the beach this morning, and not just the beach but the light, sunlight, morning sunlight that a week of fog has kept from us.
And here it was, clear and golden. Sounds like music to me.
Because I've ignored the service light on my car for more months than I care to admit, and because Malibu Auto starts work at
the crack of dawn 8 a.m., and because some mornings are less organized than others, I'm waiting here in town with my laptop but without my camera, which means that, in addition to this run-on sentence, you're being treated to a photo from the archives.
This year, April showers seem to bring even more April showers. (It's supposed to rain tomorrow, and maybe Thursday as well.) As I've said before, weird weather.
Of course it's the perfect opening to show a few pix from last week's storm, which here in the hills included not just torrential rain but also THUNDER and lightning so big and so close by, it had the Little Dog checking the internet for fallout shelters.
The creek rose and the road to our place looked like this:
And after hours of downpour which brought out the plows to clear rockfalls from the mountain roads, we had a sweet moment of this:
Oh, and also? Hail.
The marine layer that erased the coast all week has eased its way up the canyon. We didn't even bother with the beach this morning, headed instead for the hills where the mist, shredded on the mountain tops, made words like 'wreathed' and 'wraith' float through my pre-caffeine brain.
Our adorable state bird, identified by BirdLife International as a threatened species due to its vanishing habitat in much of California, is a frequent visitor to the lake.
Two months until the solstice but the weather seems not to care, with the beach all June gloomy and the mountain temps set to hit 80-plus.
The plan was the morning sunrise. The reality was this:
Which means this:
The pod of dolphins that kept pace as we walked toward Point Dume blended into the fog, and you have to look close to see this guy:
There's an ever-changing cast of characters here at the lake, the ducks of course, and egrets and herons and tiny snub-nosed birds who bob along in gangs but whose names I don't know yet. And last Friday, just before that crazy rain came by, these two geese.
They weren't afraid, not even of Maisie:
They just strolled and swam:
And, bored with the paparazzi action, one of them took a quick nap.
There's this squirrel we see on one of our walks, and by "see" what I really mean is we get a glimpse of him. He's young and agile and, I think, has a bit of an attitude.
He'll let Maisie get a good look, a bit of eye contact, then he'll flip her the bird and vanish.
It's always near this sycamore, and no matter how far ahead either of us plan, how fast we walk or what angle we take, we can't find him.
Until yesterday, that is, when we circled the tree, looking up up up and there, perched in a hollow, the fluffy little rodent.
Can you hear that?
Neener neener neener.
There's a spot on one of our roads here in the Santa Monica where, if you know where to park and which trail to take, you look out over the valley to the snow-covered mountains beyond.
Oh wild Los Angeles, I love you.
Remember the Spanish Kitchen, which sat abandoned for 40 years, the tables still set, the taxes still paid, slowly crumbling as the decades passed?
Countless stories have been told since that August night in 1961 when Pearl Caretto served dinner as usual, then shut the doors for good. Real answers, however, are scarce.
Here's a relic of those days, a pie plate found at an estate sale, old and heavy, not spilling any secrets.
* Just heard from Greg Morris, the restauranteur who re-opened the Spanish Kitchen a few years back. Turns out my Spanish Kitchen pie pan was actually used to serve paella. Morris has one of his own, given to him by the Caretto's daughter.
For more info about the place, past and present, the web site is here.
It's wonderful to have rain, but it's at least a month out of place. Good thing there's no such thing as climate change.
Meanwhile, we had a couple of new visitors this morning. More pix of them on Sunday:
For a moment this morning the sun was out, the light bright and tender in that way only a new spring day has. If I tell you that the mountain birds were singing and the sky was so blue and the rain caught in the oaks dripped and shattered, made prisms, it sounds overwrought. But that's how it was for a moment this morning, in that break in the storm.
Each day the sun rises a few minutes earlier and a few degrees further
east north (thanks, Bill!), headed for its earliest and most easterly northernmost arrival on the solstice in June.
And while you may think today's dawn broke at 6:28 a.m., it was really 5:28, the sweet expanse of the spring-to-summer morning masked by daylight saving time.
It took a few seconds to figure out when I first downloaded this image but what I thought were birds bobbing around off the Point Dume headlands yesterday turned out to be a bunch of sea lions, lounging.
They stayed like that the whole time I was there, heads and fins poking out of the water as they barked and splashed and warmed themselves while the sun rose and the mist thinned and the tide rolled slowly in.
A bit of wind, some hazy sun, seals calling from the rocks below, a ship's horn sounding in that fog bank far off shore.
I can't remember -- have I already shown you this vintage shot of commerce in Malibu back in the day? (Click through on the photo for the rest of the scene, including the "LIQUORS" sign.)
And if you've got a hankering for more of Malibu's rural past, it's hard to beat old episodes of "The Rockford Files", where the second unit stuff shows just how much our little city has changed.
Big waves breached the berm that often forms between the creek and the sea and look how the waters mixed:
After I got that shadow shot from yesterday and before the Tiny Labrador finally finally (quick! call PETA!) got to play ball, there was this:
Don't you wish the space-time continuum had a pause button?
I know it seems like the Little Dog is faithfully watching my every move but what's really going on is there's a tennis ball in my pocket and she's bumping me with her cold, wet nose and saying hurryhurryhurry
Looks who's back -- the Bullocks orioles who nest each spring in the trees just across the valley. You can see them in the canopy, especially the male, so bright in flight, a streak of gold that always catches your eye.
Here he is, fresh from the bird bath next door, and about to raid the hummingbird feeder. (Even as I'm writing this, a pair of herons flew by, headed for the lake, and a rufous hummingbird is swooping and diving above the rosemary hedge, doing his aerobatic best to woo the girl he loves.)