4 Sep 2013
We have been wanting to go to the beach for such a long time, but it just hasn’t really been hot enough. Not that I’m complaining about that! It’s just that the Pacific is cold, even this far south, and if the temperature isn’t hovering somewhere in the 100-degree range, you might as well bring a sweater. In the ocean. Or a wetsuit, I guess–that would be more efficient. Over Labor Day weekend, it finally got hot, and we headed west to Malibu with Hillary and her family. We had the best time.
It’s funny, Malibu. We’d never been there before, and it totally conjured up images of pink Barbie jeeps for me. It’s a beautiful place, stretched out for 20 miles along the ocean. We drove past Pepperdine, and let’s just say that if I had gone to school there, I would have gotten significantly less work done. It’s so strange visiting places you’ve heard about all your life. But it’s wonderful to be able to make them your own. It was fantastic to go with Hillary’s family too because they know the secret magic way to the prettiest beach. I wish I had captured this somehow, but once when we were stopped at a light behind them, I started raising the roof, and they all saw me and raised the roof right back. Few things are cuter in life than seeing two pairs of four-year-old arms raising the roof. It was awesome.
I cannot exactly say the water was warm, despite the hot weather. In fact, it was cold enough that we all pretty much screamed and ran when the water lapped up against our feet. But slowly, very slowly, I started to inch in deeper, and then, finally, finally, I was out swimming in the waves. It was the first time I’ve really been swimming in the ocean since our honeymoon, and that was two years ago. It’s a hard feeling to describe: you feel comfortable, but are simultaneously aware that some of your extremities are numb. It’s too much fun to stop, though. It was a powerful and moving experience to be that deeply in the ocean (mom and dad, don’t worry, I wasn’t far out!), to be fully embraced by something that enormous and life-sustaining. I could have stayed out there for hours, giggling like a child every time a wave lifted me three feet up in the air and gently rocked me back down. I didn’t even mind a bit when the ocean straight up smacked me in the back of the head with a big wave. Repeatedly. I guess that’s what I get for turning my back. The water was so many shades of blue, with touches of turquoise and cobalt and sapphire. It was one of the best experiences of this summer, by far. I would gladly go back and swim in the ocean every day until October. I think this year is actually going to be the first time ever that I’ve felt like I wasn’t ready for summer to end. I make a lot of noise about not liking the dry heat, but the truth is that I’ve grown accustomed to the warm breeze at night and the complete freedom to leave all sweaters behind (in my case, they’re collecting dust under my bed). If this weather allows for more ocean swimming, then I say bring it on.
We were lucky enough to see some dolphins and seals swimming not all that far away from us. Amazing! I just read this incredible little book (Grayson) about a woman who swam with a baby whale in the Pacific, and it was so moving. I kept thinking about all the treasures she saw in the water, not at all far from the shore. It blows my mind how much diversity of life is present in the ocean. I feel so grateful every time I get to see even a little bit of it.
Down at the end of the beach is Point Dume, where many brave souls were rock climbing. Impressive!
The beach we went to also featured one of my favorite ocean elements: tide pools! I love seeing the sea anemones and mussels, and, if I’m lucky, starfish. These blue mussels were just stunning. If I’d found any empty shells, I definitely would have brought them home with me. These little guys were all thriving among the waves and the moss.
I searched high and low, but I could not identify these claw-like little guys. Does anyone know what they are? (Update! These are gooseneck barnacles, identified by Eric’s dad! Thank you! Here is some really cool information about them.)
I wish I had been able to take more pictures of the tide pools, but the tide was coming in, and I got seriously splashed. I gave Eric my phone for safe keeping, and he secretly took pictures of me delighting in the sea anemones. They are such fascinating and beautiful little creatures, with their dozens of tiny little arms poised and ready to catch a snack.
We had such a beautiful time exploring and spending the day with dear friends. We splashed in the water with the girls, had a luxurious picnic, and tried on each others’ sunglasses. There was so much laughter and so much joy. Eric and I stayed from about 11 to 4, and then we got changed and went to dinner in Westwood. We got home as the sun was setting and dragged our salty and sandy selves upstairs. We were tired, we were slightly sunburned (despite our best sunscreen efforts), and we were so, so happy.