Monthly Archives: October 2021

Shifting Currents

Posted by Kerry McFall, October 19, 2021

“Brass Bookend”

For the first time in my life, I actually live at the beach.  I can see the edge of the world glimmering in the sunset – here there be dragons, here there be green flashes, here there be oil spills…  I can hear the surf crashing, feel the fence shake at the edge of the cliff, smell the salt (and the sea lion poop…)  It’s breathtaking, joyous, and melancholy by turns.  One moment I’m mesmerized by lightning arcing across the waves, then aghast at tourists approaching seals, heartbroken at the sight of a sea lion bleeding from a shark bite the size of a dinner plate, then delighted at the beauty of the glimmering waves, laughing at a child’s excitement of water lapping little ankles.

For the first time ever, I begin to understand the appeal of being on a ship, the siren call of an ocean cruise.  The urge to explore beyond that edge almost makes sense, even to the point that I wanted to congratulate ‘Captain Kirk’ on daring to fly into space.  I hate how much money is being invested by rich boneheads taking flight, and yet the human thirst for knowledge and experience is so compelling…

Earlier this month, there was a word prompt from the Inktober challenge: vessel.  Boaty Mc Boatface popped into my head, and came out of my pens and brushes:

submersible vessel

Boaty McBoatface

A bit silly, but fun, and the research into a bit of ocean science was fascinating.  (Go ahead – Google it!  It’s a good trip down the rabbit hole.)

This last week, my husband was asked to research the possible value of an antique bookend, so the bookend lived on our table for several days.  Another vesseI!  This one made me think of Viking ships, with a dragon-looking prow.. or was it a hawk?  I was drawn to the subtle colors of the brass or copper or whatever the metal was, and the appeal of the title engraved onto the back, “Invincible Armada”, so it became the latest page of my sketchbook.  It was fun trying to capture the glow of the afternoon sun reflecting off the sails, and even some of the colors from the flowers in a nearby vase made their way onto the curling surf.

sketchbook, flowers, bookend

Phase 1 – Work in Progress

Whether in the water or in the sky, the thirst for exploration drives us.  But if Christopher Columbus, and others like him, taught us anything, it should be to proceed with caution and compassion, to acknowledge who and what came before us.  That human need to explore has unforeseen impacts far into the future – we are not the only living creatures, but this planet may be our only refuge.  Ever.

Find the Good and Praise It

Posted October 1, 2021 by Kerry McFall

Painting of La Jolla Cove

Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove

 One of my new passions is watching the sea lions here in La Jolla.  According to the locals and some docents at La Jolla Cove, this particular bunch took up residence here sometime in about 2016.  The females come here to give birth, and then they spend several months teaching the pups to swim, fish, and generally be denizens of the deep.   A few males show up now and then to bark and complain and get on everyone’s nerves, occasionally staging sumo wrestling matches on the rocks with younger males.  Those guys are humongous, up to 800 pounds.

I can spend so long standing there watching that my feet go to sleep.  Sea lions make terrific “life drawing” artist’s models, posing in the sun like furry mermaids, the young ones turning somersaults and playing tag in the surf.  But we all know that no passion is without a dark side, and this is no exception – I hereby nominate the idiots (mostly tourists) who harass the sea lions for The Darwin Award.  And the Queen’s Dog Whisperer agrees, as quoted from

“That’s stupid, that,” Mugford said, motioning toward a group of young people about five feet from a group of sea lions and inching closer with their cell phones out. “It endangers the mother-pup bond and it endangers those people.

“Sea lions are wildlife, just like grizzly bears or bison,” he continued. “Obviously, having those signs warning people not to get close does no good if people ignore them. What we need is a few well-documented cases of sea lions biting people and then perhaps people would keep their distance more.” 

To sum up, people who pester wildlife don’t have the sense that God gave a Goose.  For most of the summer, there were yellow tapes blocking the steps carved or worn into the rocks where the pups and their mothers were resting.  Most people stayed back, but every time I was on that Cove walkway, there were the selfie seekers, down there with the sea lions.  The tapes came down in mid-September, I guess because the local ordinance was only effective during “active pupping season”.  But damnation (as my sainted father would have said), those pups are now  teenagers in sea lion development terms.  Being the Momma of a teen makes ANY woman cranky!  If you mess with the rookery residents, you make ALL those Mommas mad… and 300 pounds of angry Momma coming at you on slippery wet rocks is a recipe for disaster.

Alex Haley said, “Find the good and praise it,” quoting his grandmother I believe.    I’ve always thought that was a good philosophy to guide our lives – otherwise we wind up like those noisy male sea lions, complaining and getting on everyone’s nerves.  And so I offer my drawing of a little boy, sitting on the wall to watch the sea lions in quiet fascination, wearing his bicycle helmet, his scooter pulled up politely alongside.  Occasionally he and his big sister, who stood beside him, giggled at the antics going on down by the surf line.  Their Momma and Daddy did a good job of helping them be caring humans in a changing climate – good job.  Maybe their examples will rub off on rowdy, thoughtless tourists.

Boy Watching Sea Lion

Find the Good and Praise It: Good Boy!

#LaJollaCove #SeaLions #SelfieSeekers #FindTheGoodAndPraiseIt  #ResponsibleCitizens