Posted January 15, 2017 by Kerry McFall
The sand gets plowed every night here in Pacific Beach, San Diego, no kidding. A big old tractor chugs along down the foamy edge of the tide, removing any evidence of yesterday’s barefoot surfers, strolling lovers, and sand castles. The tractor leaves the beach looking like legions of tiny leprechauns raked it in preparation for planting magic clover seeds. This strikes me as Odd, capital O. To a girl from Oregon, it just doesn’t get much weirder.
Back home, you walk down the beach, one foot in front of the other, and leave a trail of bootprints. You look back and you see where you stopped to look at that decaying crab, or picked up a smooth stone, or vectored off to sit on a big piece of driftwood for a minute. The next morning, the tide has washed away any trace of your stroll, and dropped off new crabs, stones, and driftwood seating. Similar results, although not quite as tidy, so why plow? I mean, it’s not like there aren’t good waves in San Diego (which I posted a sketch of last week at https://www.gallerynouveau.biz/index.php/2017/01/wisdom-from-the-waves/). Google isn’t offering much insight – seriously, plow to remove piles of seaweed? – so I guess I’ll just have to start asking around at the lifeguard stations.
I guess that’s just what we do here in the US of A, we mess with nature, in oh-so-many ways. We drain swamps (or make hollow election promises to that effect), we fill in wetlands, we frack for oil, we pave riverbeds with concrete, or re-route the rivers through underground pipes. Being in this part of the world provides daily reminders that we have come to believe that we are entitled to mess with nature, and we have come to believe that we CAN with impunity. I’m old enough to understand that we are NOT in charge (I witnessed what Mt. St. Helens did), so I just hope that Mother Nature is in a jovial mood when she lashes back. Rest assured, she will.
Meantime, I marvel at the footprints and tractor tire impressions in the sand, and continue to draw and paint the world around me in all its human-engineered glory. This week, we visited the Junipero Serra museum building, which stands up above Old Town San Diego flaunting a big California bear on its weather vane; and we sun-bathed on the sand on Mission Bay at the Catamaran resort, whose management actually posted a sign saying “Public Welcome, feel free to use our beach chairs”! What a treat!