Our last night in San Diego. My third-born, who has opted for living in the moment as the mantra for this birthday trip, is feeling her feels and letting her current mood dictate our plans for the evening.
Ruminating in our post-zoo let-down and looking to lift our spirits, she shares her best idea:
Let's go back to La Jolla and watch the sunset with the sea lions.
Perfect. That's exactly what we do.
^ We park near the park - Ellen Browning Scripps Park - and wander across the lovely expanse of grass, weaving our way through several games of bocce ball and Frisbee on our way to the seaside.Gorgeous villas back up on the landward side of the park, and the perimeter is guarded by a row of tall, proud palms.
^ As sunset approaches, more and more people with the same genius idea as us make their way to the seawall. It's lovely to mark this daily rite of passage with a throng of strangers, just as we did back in the days before Covid.
^ Drawn as I am to the water, I can't stop looking back at the palm trees. They are to Socal what the Douglas Fir is to the Pacific Northwest, and like a good mother, I love them equally for all their delightful differences.
^ Oh, there they are, just where we left them.
^ Sea lions.
Slippery, shining wet.
Swimming in the sunlit waves
Scrambling up the sand on their webbed walkers.
Sorting themselves out into this group or that one.
Succoring their babies.
^ What charms our hearts and delights our souls is knowing that these beasts live entirely wild and free.
True, they have carved out a fragile foothold adjacent to our chaotic civilizations, but they seem to have made their peace with it.
These sea lions are living their best lives, and as we watch them, we feel their electric exuberance pulsing in the air.
^ The earth turns ever farther from the sun and into the coming darkness; a misty chill settles over us, sea lions and humans alike. We watch the groups tighten up, mothers and pups huddling together for a few hours' sleep as the bulls continue their ceaseless barking and braying, beacons of racket in the cool twilight.
^ The sun sets. Deeply satisfied with our evening adventure, we turn back to our world with a quiet confidence that all is well in the sea lions' world. They are living their best lives, and that in turn helps us to live ours.
* * * * *
Come celebrate San Diego with me and my daughters as
we break out into our first post-Covid road trip!